Friday, February 28, 2020

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Another opinion on “YES on 1” Reject Big Pharma

I doubt that anyone is surprised to find that signs for or against any issue contain meaningless phrases and faulty reasoning to bring about a desired reaction.

For instance, since we bring everybody from everywhere into the “herd”, often with no vaccinations or screening, putting us at greater risk, it’s a reason to have our kids and ourselves vaccinated. It’s not a reason for the very government and choices that has put us at risk, to now force us to have vaccinations. I personally believe that whatever we have to use, the Lord put here, so it’s fine for us to use it; how we use it is where discernment, and yes, judgement, should come into play.  But that’s just my archaic religious belief. I wouldn’t presume to force that belief on someone else.

The other arguments don’t seem to hold much water. Kids whose immune systems are greatly compromised by cancer treatments or whatever, are most likely being homeschooled anyway, in part because they need the flexibility of homeschooling over the more rigid schedule of public school; and, yes, in part because of their lower immunity.  We don’t vaccinate against colds, every flu we know about and the ones we don’t;  if the school staff and public are at risk, it’s only because they, too, haven’t had the disease or have not been been vaccinated either – still putting the immunocompromised child in danger. You’re right, it is very sad for these children and their parents, and I wish it were as simple as making a law against it but it’s not.

I really don’t like using this four letter word but, here goes, “herd” immunity is more effective and longer lasting when it is a natural immunity (brought about by a large percentage of the population having had the disease) rather than vaccine induced which is less effective and more temporary. This seems to correlate with your example of Pertussis. Yes, if you haven’t had the disease you should probably get vaccinated to protect yourself the best you can for the time being, but that’s it.  You’re not saving the world.

The fact that vaccinations probably don’t cause autism (I don’t really know) may be a reason not to be afraid to have them, but is not a reason to have them. A lot of things don’t cause autism, but we still don’t do them for other reasons.

“Voting NO will keep us safe from vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications:…”
I was coerced into having a shingles vaccine a year or two ago, to the tune of eighty some dollars out of my own pocket and a sore arm; but it was worth it not to have to worry anymore about Shingles; BUT not so. Now it seems I really need the new one (actually two) because it’s so much better. The old one was a live virus and the new one is not which is better.

“Right, but I already had the old one and was exposed to the dangers of a live virus and I lived; so, I’m all set.”

“Well, not exactly. This one gives better protection too.”  Apparently having the vaccine didn’t mean I was protected after all; I just thought I was. OK, so if I have this one will I be really protected this time? Who knows?

“Voting NO will keep us safe from … and their complications: death, paralysis, blindness, deafness… .”  Really? I thought the only protection against death was not being born; and I have to admit that I’m somewhat skeptical that we can avoid the others with just a vote.

It is true that the choices we make affect those around us which is why we should think long and hard before we make the choice to force our wants and beliefs on others.

Lynda McMackin-McDonald

Dear Editor,

Next week, we have an important vote here in Maine on whether to repeal mandated vaccine laws that will take effect this year and have removed philosophical and religious exemptions for families. There is a lot of info out there but one thing that stands out is that BOTH SIDES are concerned about the health and safety of their children. Most people involved in this debate are not arguing the importance of vaccinations. I have heard from those supporting No on 1 that they are concerned with family members or friends who are immune compromised and can pick up diseases very quickly thus they support mandated vaccines. 

I have heard from those supporting Yes on 1 who are concerned with vaccine safety and injury, too many vaccines given at one time, and/or their child may already suffer with a physical disease, disorder, or sensitivity and a vaccine could cause real harm. One thing we can agree on is that both sides of this issue are concerned with the health and safety of Maine children and their families. 

So, whose children on what side wins out on this issue? It's complicated. From what I have read and researched; Maine has a fairly high vaccine rate in comparison to other states. We can all agree that vaccines are important and, in most instances, prevent disease. We will not do away with vaccines and they are here to stay. Maybe in the near future, vaccines will even be improved upon. So, what is the fundamental issue on Question 1? 

The fundamental issue is whether Mainers are willing to abandon their freedom of choice for their families and future generations. Abandoning their freedom in this instance looks like giving the government the right to say which vaccines your family will be required to receive within the timeframe they deem appropriate and giving them the authority to edit that list of mandated vaccines over time. This is a costly relinquishment for Maine families. In this instance, those families who support Yes on 1 (repealing the new mandated vaccine law) would lose their ability to say no to a vaccine that their child may not be capable of handling. If they say no, their child will face discrimination educationally and on other levels. 

No one knows a child better than a parent or family member. Parents make very tough decisions on behalf of their children every day. We are the best advocates for our children--not a government bureaucracy. Issues involving freedom should never be taken lightly or relinquished easily. I am not anti-vaccine. But I am pro-freedom of choice for parents and families. If this is truly about wanting to get vaccine rates even higher in Maine, then let's accomplish this with more research, safer vaccines, better education, transparency, collaboration from both sides, but not at the sacrifice of personal freedom of choice and the carrying out of discrimination. #YESON1

Jennifer White For Maine Senate District 25:

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