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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vaccines now among the growing litany of anti-science movements

It's beyond belief to realize how many Americans are now falling victim to yet another anti-science movement. In fact, zealots who are "anti-vacccers" are employing scare tactics to push back decades of progress made by medical scientists who have saved countless numbers of lives because of the invention of preventative vaccines.

Yesterday's public hearings in Augusta Maine on May 11, 2015, heard a litany of testimonies from anti-vaccers who were roused by the daunting speech by Joesph Kennedy of Massachusettes. He took up time inciting anti-vaccers who want to push back the clock on the medical evidence in support of how vaccines prevent communicable diseases. Listening to Mr. Kennedy, one would take at face value that all vaccines are conspiracies by pharmaceutical companies to make money by adding deadly ingredients to their products so they will be cheaper, albeit dangerous. If his wrong minded allegations were true, none of us who were in the room yesterday would be alive today. Moreover, everyone who testified against the vaccine expansion bills told the Maine Health and Human Services Committee that they were vaccinated and their children were, also.

Here is testimony I helped to craft with Avanel Payne, R.N., B.S. C.P.N. (Certified Pediatric Nurse): Thank you Avanel.

(Right) Avanel Payne, a certified pediatric nurse with Dr. Norma Dreyfus a retired pediarician (left)in the Maine Cross Building Health and Human Services Committee Room they supported LD 471  (photo by Juliana L'Heureux0

May 11, 2015  Testimony of Avanel Payne, R.N., B.S.N. C.P.N. (Certified Pediatric Nurse) Washington Street, Bath, ME 04530

In support of LD471: An Act to Improve Vaccination Rates in Maine

Good Morning,

Chairman Senator Brakey

Chair Representative Grattine

Members of the Health and Human Services Committee

My name is Avanel Payne. I’m a practicing Registered Nurse living in Bath, ME.

I’ve been a nurse who cares for Maternal and Child Health and pediatrics patients for over 30 years. I work in Mid Coast Maine.

I’m supporting LD471: An Act to Improve Vaccination Rates in Maine.

This is an important piece of legislation. Let me tell you why I feel strongly about supporting vaccines for children and their effectiveness in protecting the public’s health.

I practiced nursing in the years prior to having vaccines available for contagious diseases like measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Frankly, I remember when the polio vaccine became available, when I was a student nurse at the University of Pennsylvania.

Before vaccines were available, when measles broke out in schools, not all the children recovered. I’ve seen children with measles encephalitis, which has a high rate of mortality. I have seen patients surviving in iron lungs because they became ill with the polio virus. Today, these diseases are entirely preventable because of the availability of vaccines.

I have cared for children who have compromised immune systems because they are receiving immuno suppressive therapy due to cancers or as recipients of organ transplants. It’s vitally important for these children to receive vaccines, especially the varicella vaccine to prevent chicken pox. Sadly, when a child becomes ill with chicken pox and has a weakened immune system, the disease is often deadly, but it can be prevented with the varicella vaccine. When all children receive the varicella vaccine, the cumulative effect protects everyone from the spread of this communicable disease.

Protecting the entire community with vaccines has the benefit of helping children who have suppressed immune systems.

I also support the policy of providing Hepatitis B for all newborns, because this vaccine prevents children from growing up with chronic liver disease.

Protecting the public from preventable infectious diseases is our first public health obligation. When we protect the public from becoming infected with preventable communicable diseases, we are also protecting the quality of life for all Maine citizens and the health of our workforce.

As a matter of fact, when the public is healthy and protected from the risk of preventable infectious diseases, like measles, mumps, pertussis, polio, hepatitis, meningitis and chicken pox, we can provide for a healthier education system, because the children will not miss school due to preventable illness and parents will not worry about missing work when their children are ill or at risk of becoming ill with infectious disease, during the epidemic outbreaks.

Moreover, in my experience, I have never seen any child with autistic syndrome that can even remotely be correlated with a vaccine.

On the other hand, I have cared for many children who were infected with vaccine preventable illnesses who suffered because there was no vaccine available or they did receive the benefit.

I urge you to support vaccine availability for all people, especially children. It’s proven to be a cost effective wellness policy that benefits everyone equally.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on a public health policy that I feel strongly about and I know will improve the wellness of Maine people.

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