Reasons to Vaccinate

  1. Vaccines save lives. The risk of catching vaccine-preventable diseases is still very real – and in Maine, that risk is growing. Because vaccines work so well, it is easy to forget how devastating diseases can be.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) continues to be a public health concern for Maine children. In 2015, Maine had 21.1 cases of pertussis per 100,000 people, much higher than the national average of 10.3 per 100,000 people. The state has consistently had an incidence of pertussis higher than the national average over the past five years.
    2014 – 41.9 cases per 100,000 [national incidence 10.3 per 100 000]
    2013 -25 cases per 100,000 [national incidence 9.1 per 100 000]
    2012 – 55.5 cases per 100,000 [national incidence 15.4 per 100 000]
  • In the past two years, Mainers were also diagnosed with highly dangerous and highly contagious preventable diseases like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Mumps and Meningococcal disease as well.
  • Influenza keeps thousands of children home from school each winter.
  • If you or someone you know travels to foreign countries, the risks are even greater. Diseases like polio, no longer present in the United States, is alive and well abroad. In fact, polio cases are growing in some countries, such as Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Other diseases that are rare here, like measles and mumps, are very common in foreign and developing countries.

Don’t let your children down by letting down your guard.

Are there gaps in your child’s immunizations? Call your children’s doctor’s office today to make sure they are as protected as they can be.

  1. Vaccines are safe. The diseases they prevent are not.
  • Vaccines have very few side effects. Serious side effects are very, very rare. Even a disease like chickenpox, that we might think of as just an uncomfortable part of growing up, has a far higher risk of dangerous side effects than its vaccine.
  • Vaccines do not cause autism. Several studies that compared vaccine use and changes in autism rates over many years found no connection between any ingredients in vaccines and autism. In fact, a brand-new study has just proven that the risk of autism is not increased by too many vaccines too soon.
  • The ingredients in vaccines are safe for children. There are so many strict medical and legal rules, inspections and studies of how vaccines are made.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s schedule for vaccines is safe for children. The safety of vaccines is rigorously researched every single year by the nation’s very best doctors and disease experts.

Good News for Maine KidsFree Vaccine
Poster (pdf)

  1. Vaccines are free for Maine children. The Universal Childhood Immunizations Program provides free vaccinations for all Maine children under the age of 19. If you don’t have health insurance or if your insurance does not cover immunizations, don’t worry. Your children can be vaccinated at their doctor’s office with little to no cost to you.

We know you’d pay any price to keep your child safe, but chances are, you don’t need to pay anything at all.

Questions about the Universal program? The Maine Immunization Program can help.

  1. Vaccinating on time can save you time. When news of Maine’s influenza outbreak began to spread, parents rushed to get their children a flu shot. But for many, it was already too late. The percentage of children staying home from some Maine schools climbed to over 40 percent, and a large number of children missed a week or more of school. Parents who missed work to care for sick kids or who became sick themselves used up valuable vacation time — or even missed paychecks.

Vaccinating on the CDC’s recommended schedule can keep your family’s schedule running smoothly so you don’t miss work and your children don’t miss school or other activities.

Is your child on schedule for recommended vaccinations? Download the CDC’s childhood and teen vaccination schedules to find out.

  1. You can vaccinate in good faith. Some Maine parents who want to vaccinate their children worry that how vaccines work or how vaccines are made could conflict with their religious beliefs. But, in fact, religious leaders are speaking out in favor of protecting children with vaccines.
  • The Vatican urges Catholic parents troubled by the use of fetal stem cells to vaccinate their children while more “ethical vaccines” are developed.
  • Islamic legal scholars have ruled that gelatin, a pork product traditionally forbidden to Muslims, is “transformed … into lawful and permittable substances” in vaccines. Muslim parents can feel good about keeping their children safe by vaccinating.
  1. Vaccinating your kids helps protect all Maine kids. Some of the children most vulnerable to diseases can’t get vaccinated. Because they need chemotherapy, or are battling HIV, or they just aren’t old enough yet, their bodies are too fragile for immunization. These children rely on you to vaccinate your children and prevent outbreaks of dangerous diseases. This is called “herd immunity,” but in Maine, we just call it “being a good neighbor” and “doing the right thing.” When you vaccinate your child, you help to protect all children in Maine.