Vaccines critical to public health

I still wince when children get vaccines, and I am no fan of Big Pharma.
But after a long pediatric career, I feel that we must vote “No on 1.”
The wording of the March referendum is confusing and misleading, as was the petition drive to get it on the ballot.
This is about public health, so let’s leave BigPharma out.
Maine has a wise law requiring some (not all!) childhood vaccines, with only medical exemptions. No religions support exemptions. Philosophical exemptions are likely due to misplaced anxiety and inaccurate information. Shouldn’t we rely on experts for advice in their fields?
For years I resuscitated children blue gasping with pertussis, or seizing with meningitis. In poorly vaccinated places near the US , I saw tetanus victims piled for burial. Measles annually claims thousands worldwide. My family, polio survivors, made sure that I had the first vaccine. And on and on.
We may dislike needles and BigPharma, but these vaccines have had endless testing and are safe. I’ve never seen anyone die nor have lasting side effects. Most kids are completely fine. Furthermore, we all have healthy-appearing but vulnerable neighbors with poor immune systems. And, our unvaccinated neighbors are safe due to those who are immunized. The World Health Organization ranks declining vaccination rates as one of the top ten health problems on earth.
Vaccination gets my vote and shows that you care about others. Vote “No on One.”

Dr. Deborah Patten,
Bath

Question 1 supporters ignoring facts and science

The well-funded supporters of question 1 were out in force in Topsham, Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, pushing their license plate signs into the top of snowbanks lining the road, exactly six weeks before voting in March. The signs read: VOTE YES ON QUESTION #1, REJECT BIG PHARMA. The only thing missing was, “Watch as my fingers never leave my hands.”
Big Pharma means big pharmaceutical companies. The supporters of Question 1 would have you believe Question 1 is about Big Pharma. It is not. Voting yes means overriding the law, allowing religious and philosophical opt-outs from vaccinations, eliminating any chance of maintaining “herd immunity” and thereby endangering all our children. Supporters want the freedom to choose not to vaccinate their children, giving all our children the freedom to die.
Who are these people? Some would call them “anti-vaxers” or “science deniers.”
Misdirecting to “Big Pharma” is a straw man. The thinking person needs to knock down the straw man to get to the real issue. The supporters of Question 1 want voters (you) to vote with emotion, not your brain.
There is credible evidence, including fines and convictions, that some big pharmaceutical companies and employees have made big money off some drugs. There is no credible evidence that the same thing has happened with vaccinations. In fact, vaccinations are frequently sold at reduced costs, funded by the government or donated to encourage vaccination. Companies may receive tax incentives for donations, but that is completely ethical and legal.
Do not fall for this garbage. The claims made by the supporters of Question 1 are based upon every known logical fallacy, are not supported by peer review and are bad science.

Loren D. Porr,
Topsham

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