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.

Marina Villeneuve / AP Photo

A bill that would eliminate most non-medical exemptions to the state’s vaccination requirements for Maine school children hit a snag Thursday.

The Maine Senate narrowly voted to retain exemptions for religious reasons. The House has rejected restoring religious exemptions, so the measure will have to undergo additional votes before it goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

The Legislature's Education Committee has endorsed a bill that would eliminate all non-medical exemptions for vaccinations required to attend Maine schools. The Committee voted 8-5 along party lines to approve the bill, which has emerged as a political flashpoint during an otherwise low-key legislative session.

Flickr Creative Commons

Vaccination rates in Maine continue to drop, according to an annual school immunization report released Friday by the state's Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Alex Acquisto / BDN

A bill that would eliminate philosophical and religious exemptions for vaccines drew hundreds to the Maine State House Wednesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Lawmakers in Maine will consider a bill designed to end non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations this year.

Maine health officials say vaccination opt-out rates for the state's kindergarteners increased during the 2017-2018 school year.

According to a report released this week by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 5 percent of kindergarteners were opted out by their parents this year for philosophic of religious reasons. The Portland Herald Press reports Maine's rate last school year was more than twice the national average of 1.8 percent.

The History of Vaccinations

Aug 9, 2017

In order to provide context for the ongoing debate over vaccinations, we learn about how vaccinations came about and how effective they have been over time, around the world and here in Maine.

Guests:  Dr. Laura Blaisdell—health services researcher and pediatrician affiliated with Maine Medical Center

Karie Youngdahl—Director, Public Health Initiatives, Digital Content Strategist, The History of Vaccines, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

AUGUSTA, Maine - New data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that more children are entering kindergarten without vaccinations for diseases like measles, chicken pox and whooping cough.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the number of parents opting their children out of immunizations for nonmedical reasons rose from 4 percent to 4.8 percent.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's top health official says he supports legislation that would make it more difficult for parents to opt out of immunizations required to attend school.

Kenneth Albert, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Portland Press Herald  on Tuesday he supports an "informed consent'' bill similar to one Gov. Paul LePage vetoed.

AUGUSTA, Maine - New data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Maine's rate of vaccination for kids between 19 and 35 months was the highest in the nation in 2014.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine had the highest immunization rate in the nation for children aged 19 to 35 months in 2014.  That's according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released the rates Friday.

The figures show that 84.7 percent of Maine children in that age group received vaccinations last year, an increase of nearly 17 percent over 2013. Nationwide,  71.6 percent of toddlers received vaccinations.