Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pretty Proud of myself

I just sent this letter to my state senate representative I am pretty excited right about now

Dear Mr. Phil Bartlett,
My name is Lauren Radigan and I am emailing you today with a growing concern about our state’s health and safety. I have lived in Scarborough, Maine since the age of 12 and am now a 25 year old resident. Nine months ago I gave birth to my first daughter Mariah Rose Cowie. When I first gave birth I was asked to join several mom groups on Facebook. the mothers of one group believe in attachment parenting, organic foods and products, babywearing, and most importantly, and to my great surprise, not vaccinating their children.
                Before I became a mother I had no idea that parents were actually choosing to NOT vaccinate their children. When I learned there were many mothers making this decision I became intrigued and decided to do some research on my own.  What I found terrified me, due to these mothers who refuse to vaccinate, diseases that were once completely eradicated in America have come back. The measles for example which was believed to have been eradicated in the year 2000 has made a huge comeback. In the year 2011 there were 222 cases reported, and from January 1st to August 24th of this year there have already been 159 cases. If this trend continues it is expected that 2013 will have the highest rate of measles in 17 years. As a mother whose child is currently too young to receive the measles vaccination this absolutely petrifies me, because if my daughter is infected she will have to be hospitalized and could possibly die.
                I am well aware that we are not able to force everyone to vaccinate their children; however, there is still something we can do. The state of Maine is one of only 19 states that allow for philosophical vaccination exemptions, meaning that a parent can submit an exemption to send their child to public school with a sole reasoning that they chose not to vaccinate based on personal belief. In states that allow these the amount of exemptions between 1991 to 2004 have increased from .99% to 2.54% compared to states that don’t allow whose rates only increased from .98% to 1.48%. Out of the 159 cases of measles reported in the US so far a whopping 79% were people who were not vaccinated for philosophical reasons.
                What I would like to see changed in the state of Maine is the ability to receive a philosophical exemption for vaccinations. I believe that if we do not allow this exemption it would greatly reduce the amount of unvaccinated children in the state of Maine therefore greatly reducing the risk of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases spreading in our state. My greatest fear is that if we don’t do something now that more mothers will refuse to vaccinate and we could see diseases such as small pox, yellow fever, and polio make an appearance again in the United States.I know that you are very busy, but I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer so that I could make a change here in the beautiful state of Maine before this issue becomes too large.