As a member of the Lewiston School Committee, nothing is more important to me than keeping our students healthy and safe. That’s why I plan to vote “no” on Question 1, and strongly urge my constituents to do the same.

Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements in human history. Through vaccination efforts, we have wiped smallpox — a disease that killed up to 300 million people worldwide in the 20th century — off the face of the Earth. Efforts to end polio the same way are making significant progress.

However, rumors, myths and bad science threaten to undermine the incredible progress that has been made in keeping children alive and healthy through vaccines. A dangerous number of parents, most of whom have never experienced the diseases vaccines prevent, are choosing not to vaccinate their children.

That is harmful, not just to their own child, but also to children who are unable to receive vaccines because of a legitimate medical issue. Immuno-suppressed children (and adults) rely on herd immunity to protect them from diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chicken pox, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. When parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they endanger not only their own child’s life and healthy, but others as well.

That is why a “no” vote on Question 1 is so critical. LD 798 makes schools safer for the most vulnerable students by ending non-medical exemptions to school-required vaccines.

We must protect Maine’s children by voting “no” on Question 1.

Kiernan Majerus-Collins, Lewiston

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