#MAPOLI: Encourage Our Legislators to “Heed Science”

Massachusetts politicians are being inundated by misinformers; we need to add voices of support for vaccination requirements

When I attended the recent Climate Strike — the one students organized after Greta Thunberg pulled them to action — I was handed a flyer by someone and put it in my pocket. Later, I realized that it was from an anti-vaxxer at this rally, a potentially virulent parent who was a danger to the kids assembled on Boston City Hall Plaza. Then I sterilized my hands.

It was ironic: among all these earnest kids who were demanding that that politicians “Listen to the scientists” was someone who was actively misinforming on the issue of vaccines. Unfortunately, this tiny malignant paper is not the only thing they are up to. They are currently vocally opposing public health policies meant to keep kids safe from harmful pathogens.

In a Boston Globe editorial the other day, I noticed a tidbit from one of the politicians that is being shouted at.

“For every pro-vax testimony we have received, there have been 15 anti-vax e-mails,” said state Representative Andy X. Vargas, who filed the other bill to strengthen the rules.

Those of us who want policies to reflect science need to get vocal about it. The small but shouty subset sending all those emails must not be the only voices that our representatives hear. Please reach out to your MA Senator and Representative to ask them to support science and public health measures that keep the most vulnerable members of our community safe.

There has been leukemia in my family — and it was crucial to keep infections from complicating the cancer treatments of this child. Luckily, now in remission and re-vaccinated, we are out of the woods. But many children aren’t.

Last night on the Channel 5 news was one of those heartwarming stories of a kid awaiting a transplant. Sure, everybody wants to send Christmas cards to him. But what he and his family will really need after the transplant: safety from measles and other infections.

Children from all over the world come to Massachusetts hospitals for our world-class medical care. Many of them are fragile from existing illness, many are going to have a long road to recovery. It is our community’s job to provide the hospitality and care that helps these kids and parents in through these challenging times.

You have the time to send a card to a kid. You also have time to send an email to your representatives to support his recovery.

Please: we must not let only the dangerous misinformers have their say. We have to demand policy that relies on science, not misinformation. Give your representatives the support they need to cast their votes for appropriate and science-based public health protections. Ask them to close the loopholes and strengthen vaccination rules.

Contact your MA legislators here: https://malegislature.gov/statehouse/contact



Mary Mangan PhD is a genomics scientist, with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and and molecular biology.

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Mary Mangan PhD is a genomics scientist, with credentials in microbiology, immunology, plant cell biology, and and molecular biology.