Last night marked a monumental victory for children in Maine and is affirmation that voters strongly support ending nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccines. The defeat of Maine Ballot Question 1 happened in large part due to the tireless advocacy of the Academy’s Maine chapter.
“This hard-fought victory comes at a time when pediatricians are under attack for supporting and administering life-saving childhood vaccines. One of the most successful medical interventions of our time, childhood vaccines have become even more vital as vaccination rates for children have decreased below the threshold for ‘herd immunity.’ This leaves children who are too young or too ill to be immunized, who rely on an inoculated community to stay protected, at great risk.
“Diseases like whooping cough have returned with a vengeance, including in Maine, and rampant misinformation about vaccines is being weaponized on social media, targeting pediatricians and others who advocate for vaccines in attempts to deter them from speaking out.
“Fortunately for Maine’s children, our pediatricians in the state did not step back, but stepped up. Their around-the-clock work to equip parents with accurate medical information about vaccines and their efforts to pass and protect needed reforms, including the law at stake under Ballot Question 1, ultimately made a difference at the ballot box.
“The Maine ballot initiative was the first time in modern history that an effort opposing vaccine requirements was put up for a statewide vote, and the voters of Maine spoke up loudly to defeat it. This protects Maine’s children and communities and demonstrates the strength of voters’ support for life-saving vaccines. Let this victory serve as a guiding star for all of us who work to keep children healthy and safe every day. The Academy commends our Maine chapter for its advocacy for children.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds