As retired physicians in our mid 70’s, we can remember getting our polio vaccinations in elementary school. Later on, as medical students, we took care of polio patients in iron lungs. As travelers, we have been vaccinated against typhoid, meningitis, and rabies. Since we both had chicken pox as kids, we have been vaccinated to prevent shingles. Lastly, we always get our flu shots each autumn. These may not be entirely protective against the particular flu virus that comes along, but we will have milder cases if we do get infected. If there were vaccines against the Corona virus or Ebola or Lyme disease (a particular concern here in Maine), would we not want that sort of protection as well?

We were happy to have our daughters undergo the recommended vaccinations for mumps, measles and rubella, not to mention diphtheria pertussis and tetanus. None of these diseases is benign.

We don’t understand the campaign to reject the obligatory vaccination of public school children. Many private schools and colleges and the military have the same requirements. If the majority of children are immunized, the public as a whole is protected. In particular, those with weakened immunity who should not get vaccinations — infants, cancer chemotherapy patients and transplant recipients — are protected if at least 95% of the population has received standard scheduled vaccinations.

The U.S. Constitution has a preamble that begins “We the People.” People. Citizens. Members of society. Yes, the Constitution contains many protections for individuals, but not to the disadvantage of the populace as a whole.

For these reasons, we encourage a “no” vote on the upcoming referendum on March 3. Those who say that we should reject Big Pharma by voting “yes” are being disingenuous, if not dishonest. The production of vaccines has never made a whole lot of profit for pharmaceutical companies. We have all seen ads for this antibiotic or that Hep C drug, but when was the last time you saw an ad for measles or tetanus vaccine? Smallpox, a worldwide scourge for centuries, has been eliminated as a threat by virtue of vaccinations. Maybe, one of these days, other diseases will be relegated to the history books as a result of widespread vaccination.

Let’s not give viruses and bacteria a pass on March 3. Please vote “no” on Question 1.

Drs. Edward and Candace Walworth are residents of Lewiston.