Today, on Congress Street, I was approached to sign a petition to overturn the new Maine law eliminating exemptions on vaccinations. I did not sign it and I encourage all my neighbors not to support this effort.

Vaccines have saved many lives. I am old enough to remember these diseases. As a child, one of my first memories was lining up to receive the first polio vaccine. That vaccination was a wonder, as I was aware of polio epidemics and have known people affected. Thanks to Dr Salk, it meant we no longer feared going to public places like swimming pools and movie theaters.

When I was 16, I got measles. That was four years before the measles vaccine was available. I was very ill for weeks. I remember having a high fever and staying in a dark room for two weeks or more and missing weeks of school. I remember being scared that I would not get better.

My career has been in public health. I have been proud to advocate for immunization here and overseas. Immunization has saved countless lives, but we have begun losing ground in the last few years, especially with measles. I congratulate the Legislature and the governor for passing the new law that allows only medical exemptions in environments where vaccination is required.

Please do not sign this petition.

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