Maine’s rate of non-medical vaccination opt-outs for school kids is the nation’s seventh highest, and it is getting worse. If we do not stop the slide, our community herd immunity will fail and we will face increasing outbreaks of dangerous whooping cough and measles like we’ve seen in the Pacific Northwest. This will put kids with cancer or other weakened immune conditions at serious risk of death if they attend schools.

It is the liberty of these families to send their kids to school and for the parents to continue to be able to earn a living that it at stake. It is the right to equal access to education of these students that gives them a right to a safe education.

The solution is to pass L.D. 798, to limit school vaccine exemptions only to medical reasons. Those worried about liberty of those families who have fallen for internet disinformation about vaccines would be wise to remember the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Prince v. Massachusetts, handed down in 1944, when the fear of measles was understood by all:

“(A parent) cannot claim freedom from compulsory vaccination for the child more than for himself on religious grounds. The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.”

Andrew Schmidt


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