February 5, 2020

In This Issue
“Maine Physicians Must Speak Out” on the Vaccine Referendum
US$675 million needed for new coronavirus preparedness and response global plan
Maine CDC Resources on Coronavirus
Maine's Weekly Influenza Report
Recovery in Maine: Short Films and Community Discussion
Opioid Related Webinars Offer CME Credit
Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Tuesday, February 11th
State House Highlights of the Week
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
MMA partners with the Maine Suicide Prevention Program and the Maine CDC/Sweetser to offer training for clinicians.
Understanding Social Security - Webinar on Thursday, February 13 at 6pm
10th Annual Maine Patient Safety Academy - March 30, 2020
Medical Director, Primary Care Physician
Physician - Nasson Health Care
Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
BC/BE Family Medicine or Internal Medicine Physician
Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
Orthopedic Surgeon Opportunity in Beautiful New England
Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health - Portland, ME

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“Maine Physicians Must Speak Out” on the Vaccine Referendum

An overflow group of MMA physicians, parents, nurses, and other health care providers gathered in the State House Welcome Center on Tuesday for the rollout of the “No on One: Protect Maine’s Children” campaign. Among the speakers was Amy Madden, M.D., president of the Maine Medical Association. The “No” campaign is a successor to the informal alliance, led by the MMA and Maine Families for Vaccines, which succeeded in passing what is now Public Law 2019, c. 154. This law eliminates so-called “philosophical” and religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for school attendance and healthcare employment. A well-funded group has gathered sufficient signatures, some by reportedly questionable means, to put a repeal attempt on the ballot for Maine’s March 3rd election.

The ballot question at issue reads as follows: “Do you want to reject the new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions to requiring immunization against certain communicable diseases for students to attend schools and colleges and for employees of nursery schools and health care facilities?”

The grassroots Maine Families group has now grown into a coalition of more than 50 organizations committed to promoting and protecting public health, including all the major healthcare organizations in the State. Maine Governor Janet Mills recently announced her support for the “No” position on Question 1.

Pediatrician Laura Blaisdell, M.D. is a founding member of the Maine Families for Vaccines group. At Tuesday’s rollout, she said, “We, the medical and public health communities, know this unequivocally through fact and experience—from 150 years of scientific study to hearing the personal stories of those who experienced life before immunizations. Yet, returning outbreaks speak to us about cracks in this mighty foundation.

“As we watch coronavirus paralyze travel across the globe, we are reminded of a time when measles shut down schools and parents dreaded the “summers of polio.” Outbreaks of chicken pox, whooping cough and mumps now are a common headline in the Maine press.  Why?”

The Maine Families for Vaccines website includes a fact sheet as well as links to a variety of news articles on the issue from a number of sources.

As Dr. Madden said, “Maine physicians must speak out on this issue in the best interest of the communities we serve. Our patients look to us for sound, science-based medical advice. Simply put, advances in modern medicine have made vaccine-preventable illnesses essentially a thing of the past. I say essentially because should we lose the protections of community-immunity provided by basic vaccines, we risk the re-emergence and outbreaks of diseases such as measles.

“The Maine Medical Association is committed to this cause, and we will continue to do our very best in caring for you, your families, and our communities. We urge Maine voters to vote “NO on Question 1” on March 3rd.”


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