Mar 4, 2020 - Health

Maine votes against religious vaccine exemptions

The "Tdap" vaccine. Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) praised Super Tuesday voters in the state for also casting their ballots to keep a law eliminating religious and philosophical exemptions that would allow parents to prevent their children from being vaccinated.

Driving the news: Maine's choice to reject vaccine exemptions comes as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and drugmaker Moderna rush to develop a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, and as House Democrats demand guarantees that an eventual vaccine is affordable.

Catch up quick: Maine's law is set to take effect in September 2021, per the Washington Post, and it "aims to boost immunization among school-age children in a state where just over 5 percent of kindergartners are unvaccinated not only for medical reasons but because of their parents' religious or philosophical beliefs."

  • The law would also require unvaccinated children to obtain a waiver from a medical professional in order to attend school, per the Post.

Why it matters: If just over 5% of kindergartners in the state aren't vaccinated, Maine does not meet the "herd immunity" threshold to prevent outbreaks of diseases like measles, which requires at least 95% of a population to be immunized.

Go deeper: Anti-vax movement targets Maine law on vaccine exemptions

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On Monday, a woman in Seattle became America’s first human subject of a novel coronavirus vaccine trial. Dan and Axios' Bob Herman dig into the vaccine development process and why a young biotech company is leading the pack.

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Joe Biden wins Maine Democratic primary

Joe Biden with his wife and sister at a Super Tuesday rally. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Joe Biden has won the Maine Democratic primary, according to AP.

Why it matters: It's the last Super Tuesday primary to be called and further adds to Biden's delegate lead.

U.S. volunteer receives first shot of experimental coronavirus vaccine

Moderna has developed the first experimental coronavirus vaccine, but an approved treatment is more than a year away. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A healthy U.S. volunteer received the first dose of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a potential defense against the virus if it becomes a long-term threat.

Where it stands: The trial will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses about 28 days apart in order to test the vaccine's effectiveness in protecting the subjects against COVID-19. If successful, several more trials with larger subject groups will be needed to prove whether there are common side effects.

Go deeperArrowMar 16, 2020 - Health