We urge a “no” vote on Question 1 – a vote to retain the law eliminating nonmedical exemptions for school and health care employment vaccine requirements and expand and strengthen medical exemptions. We recognize that public health success is in jeopardy as a growing number of parents forgo vaccinations for their children based on long-debunked claims about vaccine safety, efficacy or necessity.

Extensive medical and scientific research has proven that vaccines are safe and effective compared to the high rates of serious complications and death that result from the diseases they are designed to prevent: polio, meningitis, measles, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, chickenpox and whooping cough. These complications far outweigh the very rare side effects of vaccines.

The new law only requires that those who work with sick, vulnerable patients and those who physically attend school and other activities be protected from these nine contagious diseases, unless there is a medical reason why they cannot. The law forbids the government to question the judgment of the medical professional writing the exemption.

The protections of community-immunity provided by basic vaccines are at risk, as are new outbreaks of diseases such as measles.

The American Medical Association and Maine Medical Association are committed to this cause, and we will continue to do our very best in caring for you, your families and our communities. We urge Maine voters to vote “no” on Question 1 on March 3.

Patrice Harris, M.D.

president, American Medical Association

Chicago

Amy Madden, M.D.

president, Maine Medical Association

Manchester

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