On March 3, Mainer voters will have the option of retaining or repealing PL 154, which was signed into law last May, to eliminate non-medical exemptions to immunization requirements for school attendance and for health care workers.

As a physician and community member, I urge everyone to vote “no” on this referendum in order to protect our community, especially the immuno-compromised people who are attending schools or receiving health care.

In my training as an orthopedic resident, I saw the lingering effects of the polio epidemic that ravaged this country from the 1930s to the 1960s. Many otherwise healthy individuals succumbed to this viral disease or were left with permanent paralysis. One of the great medical advances of the past century was the development of the Salk vaccine which created general immunity, and acute polio myelitis became a thing of the past. That could not have happened if a significant segment of the population opted out from receiving the vaccine.

Vaccines save lives. They prevent outbreaks of what can be devastating illnesses. There is overwhelming evidence that they are safe and effective.

This resolution is not about “Big Pharma” making more profits; it is about protecting our community.

I hope others will join me in voting “no” to protect Maine children.

Paul Cain, Auburn

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