Public health experts in Maine say cases of chickenpox and whooping cough are falling in the state, but the number of children receiving immunizations for the diseases and others is still lower than it should be.

The rate of kindergarten-age children whose parents obtained religious or philosophical exemptions for them was 5.6% in the school year that ended in June. The Portland Press Herald reports that was the same rate as the previous school year.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

Maine's Department of Health and Human Services is offering temporary incentive payments to health care providers who treat children enrolled in MaineCare.


The Maine Center for Disease Control is launching a series of free immunization clinics for children.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine's first presidential primary election in two decades is in the books, and while the final vote tally isn't done, there is a lot to digest from the results that we do have.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Next week, Mainers vote on a People's Veto referendum that will affect vaccination requirements. Question 1 seeks to overturn a new state law that prevents parents from refusing to have their children vaccinated, except for medical reasons. The Yes on 1 campaign says the new law is unnecessary and infringes on personal freedom.  The No side says the law is needed to preserve public health.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP photos

A people’s veto referendum that will determine the fate of a new Maine vaccination law is generating less campaign cash and fanfare than other recent ballot initiatives, but the sources behind the money and the messaging highlight a deep rift between the state’s leading health organizations and individuals who distrust vaccines.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

In less than two weeks, Mainers will cast their votes on a referendum that seeks to repeal a new law that removes religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccines.

Eric Risberg / AP File

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is urging voters to oppose a people's veto referendum in March that could scuttle a new law designed to increase child vaccination rates.

Maine Public File

The 2020 elections won't just be about the race for the White House, Congress or the Maine Legislature. The elections will also be about vaccinations for school children and, potentially, whether Central Maine Power should be able to build a $1 billion power line that helps Massachusetts meet its renewable energy goals. 

State election officials say a people's veto effort to repeal Maine's new vaccination law has qualified for the ballot, and that the vote that will take place on presidential primary day, March 3, 2020. Mainers for Health and Parental Rights is trying to repeal the law that requires all students attending Maine schools to be vaccinated unless medically exempt.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

The activist group Mainers for Health and Parental Rights has submitted some 78,000 signatures certified by local registrars to suspend the state’s new vaccine law until the voters have their say on the issue next spring. Supporters of the law are vowing a fight to keep it.

Legislation allowing public financing of abortions for poor Mainers, a measure that would allow what supporters call “death with dignity” and the repeal of exemptions to vaccine requirements could all go to the voters for their decision.

Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill that eliminates religious and philosophical exemptions from the state’s vaccination requirements.

Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth is holding a public forum on vaccines Tuesday evening.

Seth Wenig / Associated Press file

A bill establishing one of the more aggressive vaccination laws in the country is now one step closer to reaching Democratic Gov. Janet Mills after a vote in the Maine Senate on Tuesday.