In 1979, I was a 20-year-old college junior studying abroad in Kenya working at a polio rehabilitation center for children who had been unable to be vaccinated against polio in a remote part of the sub-Saharan desert when there was an outbreak of pertussis. I learned firsthand why it is also called “whooping cough” and what happens when vulnerable children get sick. We didn’t lose anyone, but we came close.

Later, I finished my undergraduate education at Bowdoin, receiving highest honors for my lab-based research on early protein transcription in viral infections in mammals. Then I attended medical school, did a residency and practiced medicine, practicing with an open mind and in a collaborative fashion with alternative medicine providers.

I have always questioned authority and read the medical literature with a critical eye and questioning spirit. I am a vocal critic of for-profit health care companies, including insurers and Big Pharma.

I am also a mom.

I believe my experience and education put me in a excellent position to be an well informed voice weighing in on Question 1.

I unequivocally will be voting “no” and reject the false narrative put forth by the proponents of this referendum, claiming it is about rejecting Big Pharma. I have cared for children whose lives were irrevocably altered by the diseases vaccination prevent. Please join me in voting “no” to keep our children and medically vulnerable neighbors safe. Vote “No” on Question 1.

Margaret Schoeller, M.D.

Portland

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