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Republicans in Maine eye 5-year mandatory COVID-19 shot ban

May 10, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A proposal from a group of Maine Republicans to ban mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for five years is up for consideration by a legislative committee this week.

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Tracy Quint of Hodgdon, have based their proposal in part on the theory that coronavirus vaccines cause reproductive harm. Numerous medical authorities have said the claim lacks merit, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated there is “no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines affect future fertility.”

The proposal is slated for a work session before the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services on Tuesday.

The bill states that it “prohibits mandatory vaccinations for coronavirus disease 2019 for 5 years from the date of a vaccine’s first emergency use authorization by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration in order to allow for safety testing and investigations into reproductive harm.”

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Maine authorities are not currently considering any proposals that would make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for residents.

THE NUMBERS

New cases of coronavirus are trending slowly downward in Maine.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 355.86 new cases per day on April 24 to 306.71 new cases per day on May 8. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.00 deaths per day on April 24 to 0.86 deaths per day on May 8.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the state has had more than 64,000 cases of the virus and 795 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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VACCINE PROGRESS

More than 52% of the eligible people in the state have had their final dose of coronavirus vaccine, state officials said on Monday.

Maine was one of the first states in the country to surpass the 50% threshold.

The county that has made the most progress in vaccinating residents is Cumberland, which is the largest county in the state. More than 60% of the county’s total population has had at least a first dose, state officials said.

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MILLS JOINS BIDEN, GOVERNORS

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said Monday she will meet virtually with President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of governors to discuss innovative ways governors are helping to get people vaccinated.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Mills said. She said “there is more work to do to get this pandemic behind us, which is why we are doubling-down on efforts to expand access to the vaccine, to get into hard-to-reach communities, and to deliver shots into arms.”