Two same-aged toddlers enter the emergency department at the same time. Both present with fever.

One is evaluated by a physician, the parents given reassurance, counseled on the importance of fever control, hydration and following up with their pediatrician. The other requires extensive workup, including painful blood draws, a prolonged period of observation and possibly admission to the hospital and potentially harmful antibiotics. The difference? The second child is unvaccinated.

When an otherwise healthy but unvaccinated child presents to the ER with fever, it is much more difficult for the physician to “rule out the bad stuff” based on just a clinical exam. In fact, current guidelines for the presence of fever in a toddler who is unvaccinated include obtaining blood for culture, blood counts and a period of observation.

If suspicion is high enough, they are also given antibiotics and admitted to the hospital. This is done because study after study has shown that toddlers who are unvaccinated are at higher risk for serious infection than their vaccinated counterparts. This includes the dreaded bacteremia, an infection of the blood that can rapidly lead to death in children. The risk of this life-threatening illness is doubled in unvaccinated children.

Voting “yes” on 1 is not “rejecting Big Pharma.” It is rejecting science.

Vaccinating all of Maine’s children is a no-brainer. I am an emergency physician, and I urge all Maine voters to get to the polls March 3 and vote “no” on 1.

Brandon Giberson

Portland

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