- Associated Press - Monday, July 17, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - 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 (https://bit.ly/2tiU1xC ) the number of parents opting their children out of immunizations for nonmedical reasons rose from 4 percent to 4.8 percent.

Peter Michaud, chairman of the Maine Immunization Coalition, called the numbers “extremely distressing.” He said a lack of immunizations raises the chances of an outbreak of infectious disease.

Maine allows parents to decline vaccines by objecting on philosophical or religious grounds.

Democratic state Rep. Ralph Tucker sponsored a 2015 bill that would have eliminated philosophical objections, which was vetoed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Tucker says it’s unclear whether he could garner enough support next session to override a veto.

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