Letter to the editor: Patrick Killoran

Individual choice should not put most vulnerable at risk

Sun, 02/23/2020 - 9:00pm

I am a physician currently practicing psychiatry.  Previously I completed a master’s in public health degree and worked at the California Department of Public Health developing tests to study outbreaks of infectious diseases.  I am also a member of the Maine Medical Association board of directors, a statewide professional organization of physicians, residents, and medical students whose mission includes promoting the health of all Maine citizens.

I’m writing to encourage you to vote no on Question 1 to protect Maine children on March 3.

Medical and scientific evidence proves that vaccines are safe and effective.  They protect all Mainers, including vulnerable children and adults who cannot be immunized for medical reasons.  The use of vaccines is one of the most effective tools in promoting public health. 

We cannot afford to lose the protections of community-immunity provided by basic vaccines, thereby risking the re-emergence and outbreaks of diseases such as measles.

On a personal note, I have seen the unintended consequences when community immunity diminishes.  Just prior to turning one, and receiving her chicken pox vaccine, my daughter contracted the disease, which complicated her recovery from abdominal surgery.

A No vote on 1 does not take away a parent’s right to choose whether or not to vaccinate their child. But it is a vote to make our schools safer for all Maine’s children, particularly those who are medically unable to be vaccinated. 

Measles can be fatal for those immunocompromised.  Individual choice should not put our most vulnerable at risk.  I hope you’ll join me in learning more about the No on 1 Campaign to Protect Maine’s Children at www.protectmaineschildren.com.

Patrick Killoran, MD, MPH lives in Camden