Maine Voters Reject Anti-Vax Referendum

Gov. Janet Mills urged Mainers to uphold the new law, saying “vaccines save lives.”

Mar 3, 2020

Fosters – With the backdrop of the coronavirus spreading around the world, Mainers on Tuesday rejected an attempt to nullify the elimination of religious and philosophical exemptions for childhood vaccinations in a campaign that focused on community versus individual rights.

Every major medical organization in Maine supported the state law approved last year that reduces vaccine opt-outs at a time when more parents are forgoing vaccines for their children.

Groups seeking to restore philosophical and religious exemptions contended parents, not lawmakers, should be responsible for making medical decisions for children.

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The so-called “People’s Veto” referendum, which was rejected, aimed to undo the law that ends nonmedical vaccine opt-outs by September 2021 for students at public and private schools and universities, including nursery schools, and for health care facility employees.

The Legislature’s action last year came against the backdrop of a spike in whooping cough cases in Maine.

Maine has one of the highest rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions in the nation, and officials warned that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination rate among kindergarteners had dropped below the “herd” immunity level of 95% immunization.

Sanford resident Morgan-Lee Brooks, a Republican who voted Tuesday for President Donald Trump, said she voted “no” on the repeal.

“My son is going to be starting kindergarten,” Brooks said. “I’m going to vaccinate my son, so I feel that should be a requirement for anyone he’s going to school with.” Read more. 

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