Lawmakers Must Tread Carefully On Vaccination Legislation

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Lawmakers Must Tread Carefully On Vaccination Legislation

Augusta – Republican leaders in the House are urging fellow lawmakers to exercise caution when it comes to mandating unfettered vaccinations of Maine’s children.

A bill being proposed this session would require parents who wish to opt out of vaccinations for philosophical reasons to consult with a primary care professional before being allowed to do so. But the proposal doesn’t stop there. If the parent still does not want their child vaccinated, they would still need a medical professional to sign off on their decision before those children are allowed to attend public schools in Maine.

Rep. Deborah Sanderson, the lead House Republican on the Health and Human Services Committee, is urging fellow lawmakers to think long and hard before putting Maine on a path that could eventually lead to the government and medical professionals acting as pseudo-parents to children.

“Whether or not to vaccinate a child is a private decision that should ultimately lie with the parent,” Sanderson said. “This bill not only mandates that a parent consult with a physician but also puts medical professionals in the position of acting as parents to parents by asking them to approve parental decisions regarding their own children. My concern is where this will end if we start down this road.”

In some cases, parents opt-out of some vaccines but not others or choose to administer vaccinations on an alternative schedule than the timetable set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“Which vaccines a parent gives to their child and when those vaccines are given is their prerogative as a parent,” Sanderson said. “We can’t assume a parent is ignorant simply because they choose to vaccinate their children on a different schedule than the template laid out by the CDC.”

13 Comments on “Lawmakers Must Tread Carefully On Vaccination Legislation

  1. Though I feel strongly about vaccinating our children, (I chose to have my child vaccinated) I do believe it should be the decision of most parents and not the decision of the government on whether or not a child is vaccinated. i am opposed to government creating restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties.

  2. I am in agreement as well… the State of Maine does not need to become a Nanny State. What happens when the Federal government mandates a vaccine that has not been thoroughly tested for safety ( as they have before because of their alliance to some pharmaceutical company)? Parents are would be left with very little say in what goes into their children. Vaccines can have serious consequences, their are an invasive procedure, as much as any surgery yet the government wants to tell parents what to do….why, because parents can’t make informed decisions….perhaps the the government thinks parent are incapable of making sound decisions for their children and the government knows better…. it is a slippery slop we go down if this passes. What else will the government dictate to the people?

  3. Lawmakers and citizens might wish to do their homework. Read Supreme Court decision: Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1905) related to requiring vaccination to protect not only the individual, but others who can come in contact with that individual ( therefore; the common good).

    “The liberty secured by the Constitution…does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times…freed from constraint. There are manifold restraints…subject to the common good.”

    In other words, you buy into the protections of civil society, and sometimes must accept that which is determined to be in the common good.

    I understand the concerns of individuals; however, lawmakers must also address the concerns of the common good.

    • your point is a good one: however, I believe it does not apply here solely because for all of the studies, facts, websites that folk can dredge up to support the case that mass/mandatory vaccination is the best prevention for , I can produce en equally potent mixture of informative, and scholarly work that refutes that very widely-held and false assumption.
      And my/our personal experience proves to ourselves, and our circles, that we enjoy an equally , nay higher rate of prevention through our own chosen methods.
      So, why should we be mandated something so intrusive in light of the above?
      I fear the medical community that gets the most voice in this, may not be an unbiased one.
      We’ll see…

    • Jacobson was the case of an adult, a hundred years ago, during a small pox epidemic who was able to pay $5 to get out of the vaccine. They law didn’t even apply to children. The decision by the supreme court stated that vaccine laws could not become “onerous” and certainly should not cover states forcing children to receive 14 shots when there is not an epidemic.

      Vaccines can seriously harm some and damage others. Those decisions belong in parent/doctor discussions, not in Maine law.

  4. Considering that Parents who chose not to vaccinate are generally well educated and work in high paying industries, I don’t think it is necessary to add more legislative red tape to the exemption process for no reason. Non-vaccinated children are as a whole healthier and less likely to contract the illness vaccines are set to prevent. While the CDC won’t do a study other research groups have and the results appear consistent not just in American but in other industrialized nations as well.

  5. Well written and glad to see some fresh perspective in mainstream media rather than “anti vaxxers are horrible parents!”

  6. I don’t often agree with Maine’s republicans on much, but this article is spot-on. A government that makes healthcare decisions for my son, whom they’ve never even met? Yea, no thanks. That is wrong on so many levels.

  7. You made me wear a seatbelt (but won’t make motorcyclists wear a helmet) and now you are going to look into my car from overpasses to make sure I am wearing one; and now you want to tell me how to keep my family healthy? When did the government become smarter than I am?

  8. This is a manufactured issue. The small populations in states like Maine skew percentages for comparison of exemptions. There are less than 500 kindergartners (public and private), in the entire state who have an exemption, out of about 15,000 kids. Almost no exemptions are for all shots- most are for Chicken Pox, or a last dose of a vaccine series a child reacted to previously. Vermont recently went through a similar push, where out of state parties attempted to constrict the parent’s rights to direct their child’s healthcare. See this for details
    Vaccination rates are higher than they have ever been
    Additions to the schedule are what drives up exemptions

  9. This is a terrifying slippery slope. Once a precedent is set, it will open the doors to other types of legislation that force us to do things, or NOT do things and destroy our remaining rights to determine our own lives. Forced ANYTHING is not American, and people need to do more extensive research before allowing the government to play right into the hands of Big Pharma, who make the vaccines…There is a lot of solid science out there supporting both sides of this debate, but ultimately, doing this would then allow the government to ban guns on the grounds that they could result in the death of other people’s children (gun owners, beware), ban certain supplements or food products because they might make your children fat or sick on the basis of a few cases…the public needs to STOP PANICKING and step back and realize how close we are to completely giving up our freedoms for ignorance and fear. There are other ways to deal with this issue…but first and foremost, get educated on BOTH sides of the agenda, and never, ever let your government FORCE YOU TO DO ANYTHING…open that can of worms and we will all be sorry.

  10. Slippery slope… Out won’t stop at mandating vaccines, but other pharmaceuticals…

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