Maine CDC outraged over spread of anti-vaccination flyers


    Members of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention are outraged over the spread of anti-vaccination flyers in southern Maine. (Maine CDC)

    AUGUSTA (WGME) – Members of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention are outraged over the spread of anti-vaccination flyers in southern Maine.

    The CDC says the flyers are turning up at big box stores in southern Maine.

    "It was misleading and inaccurate," State Epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett said. "It was designed to feed on people's fears."

    The flyers list 33 so-called "vaccine side effects and diseases," and appear to be official, but cdc.org is not a real website; it's cdc.gov.

    "This movement has really gained traction in social media," Kalie Hess of the Maine Immunization Coalition said.

    The Maine Immunization Coalition says right now five percent of Maine children are not vaccinated, because of their parents' philosophical objections; the seventh highest rate in the country.

    "It's more than double the U.S. average," Hess said.

    Kalie Hess says the flyers are dangerous and could put Maine children at risk of preventable diseases.

    "We're just seeing huge amounts of people that are contracting diseases in places where people have started to not vaccinate their children," Hess said.

    "There's some massive measles outbreaks going on over in Europe right now," Bennett said. "Almost a quarter of cases had been hospitalized in France and there were a couple dozen deaths. The bottom line is that vaccines save lives."

    The CDC says like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects, but CDC officials say those side effects are usually minor, like redness or swelling at the injection site, and they say severe side effects, such as severe allergic reactions, are very rare.

    "Vaccines keep you and your family safe,” Bennett said. "It prevents illness. It prevents the spread of illness."

    You can learn about vaccines and their side effects from the FDA and the real CDC website.

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