L.D. 798, a bill currently before the Legislature, will protect children, the very old and the very ill by ending nonmedical exemptions to vaccinations.

I was raised in a home that didn’t believe in immunizations. The first time I was confronted with the consequences of my parents’ decision was when I was pregnant with my first child. At my first prenatal appointment, I found out from my doctor that my baby could suffer from any number of horrific birth defects because I had not been immunized against rubella. This was a scary time for our growing family.

My siblings were never immunized either. One attended a college where no immunizations were required, and she was quarantined during a 1984 measles outbreak. It cost the city where she lived over $250,000 to contain the epidemic. One college student in the early stages of measles rode a bus halfway across the country and infected countless people along the way.

It’s very frightening to find out you are ill prepared to deal with something as simple as vaccine-preventable illness because of a decision your parents made that would not affect them. My siblings and I chose to immunize our children after living with and seeing the consequences of my parents’ decision.

Maine children, and society as a whole, deserve protection from being exposed to preventable disease, especially at school and day care, but also in public places such as libraries, restaurants and hospitals, to name a few. Adults make decisions for children. Regardless of the reason for that decision, it is children who incur the consequences of those decisions.

This bill is about protecting our most vulnerable citizens, especially children. I urge Maine legislators to support L.D. 798. It’s time to put children first.

Janis Price

Peaks Island

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