I am adding InterMed to the lengthy list of organizations and physicians who are speaking out about the importance of vaccines and encouraging a “no” vote on Question 1.

Vaccines save lives. The evidence is indisputable and overwhelming. From polio to meningitis to measles, vaccines provide an unrivaled ally in our fight against serious and deadly diseases.

Polio, for example, crippled an average of more than 35,000 people a year during its peak, but thanks to Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine, no new cases of polio have originated in the U.S. in more than 40 years. However, even four decades after the last diagnosed case, I see patients struggle with mobility issues brought on by a childhood polio infection. Simply put, it’s better to prevent illness than to treat it, and vaccinations remain the best way to protect our children against serious illnesses.

Equally important, vaccination also helps keep diseases from spreading to family, friends, co-workers and classmates. Some viruses spread rapidly and easily, and can quickly turn into an outbreak.

As more people are vaccinated, it becomes more difficult for the germs to spread, and the entire community or school is less likely to become sick. This “herd immunity” is especially important because it protects those with weakened immune systems who cannot receive a vaccine, such as children and adults with cancer, HIV/AIDS or other health conditions.

Vaccines save lives. Please vote “no” on March 3 to help keep our communities and schools healthy.

Dan Loiselle, M.D.

chief medical officer, InterMed

Portland

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