Let’s be clear. Maine law does not require a parent to have their child vaccinated. They have the choice not to vaccinate. But choices have consequences. If parents choose not to vaccinate, the consequence is they cannot send their children to a public school or child care program. A parent’s decision not to vaccinate their child does not mean they have the right to compromise the health of other children. Children are not the only ones at risk. The elderly, those receiving chemotherapy, or who cannot tolerate vaccines are more vulnerable to infection.

In 1954, I was one of more than a million “polio pioneers” — children who were part of the clinical trials for the first Salk polio vaccine. Our parents willingly allowed us to participate because they understood the dangers of polio.

In 2003, I traveled to Cameroon to volunteer with Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign to eradicate polio from the globe. We visited villages where parents walked long distances to bring their children to be vaccinated, because they, too, understood the dangers of polio.

We have the opportunity to protect our children and communities with vaccines for polio and other dangerous diseases. I would ask others to please don’t put other people at risk for diseases that can be prevented.

I urge everyone to vote “no” on Question 1 on March 3.

Christine Gianopoulos, Greene

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