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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.”