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Speaker Cummings praises Allen amendment to review vaccination policy for military personnel

Speaker’s Office
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
207-287-1300
http://www.speaker.maine.gov

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Tim Feeley, 749-7578, Kaylene Waindle, 615-4187

Speaker Cummings praises Allen amendment to review vaccination policy for military personnel

Congressman Tom Allen attaches amendment to defense authorization bill in response to unexplained death of a Maine Guardsman

AUGUSTA– Speaker Cummings is praising an effort led by Congressman Tom Allen to direct the Department of Defense to review vaccination protocols for active duty military personnel.

The amendment presented by Congressman Allen and attached to the defense authorization bill reflects concerns that have been voiced in the aftermath of the death of one National Guard member from Maine, Captain Patrick Damon, and mirrors legislation that has been introduced in the Maine Legislature.

“Congressman Allen is standing up to protect the health and safety of Maine’s military personnel,” said Speaker Cummings. “The death of Captain Damon has forced us in Maine to review our standards because our soldiers require a high level of certainty that the healthcare and medications they receive will not put them in jeopardy. Their jobs are dangerous enough without being subjected to further peril by the very medications meant to protect them.

I applaud Congressman Allen for his initiative to protect the well being of our troops.”

Legislation similar to the amendment attached by Congressman Allen is under consideration in the Maine Legislature. The Maine legislation was brought forward by Barbara Damon-Day, the mother of Captain Damon, after an autopsy cast into doubt the cause of his sudden death.

Captain Damon died suddenly while he was deployed in Afghanistan with the Maine National Guard’s 240th Engineering Group. Captain Damon’s family is questioning whether he had a prolonged negative reaction to the many vaccinations and medications he received before being sent to Afghanistan.

The death of Captain Damon is currently being reviewed by the Vaccine Healthcare Center at Walter Reed Medical Center.

“This issue would not have been raised to this level with out the courage and the determination of Barbara Damon-Day,” said Speaker Cummings. “Barbara’s work to turn her family’s tragedy into something positive for other Maine families, Maine’s service men and women and the members of the Maine National Guard is truly remarkable.”

On Friday, May 11 the Maine Legislature’s Legal and Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed the measure brought forward by Damon-Day that is limited to personnel under the authority of the Maine National Guard. The proposal, LD 1889, is sponsored by Speaker of the House Glenn Cummings, and directs the Maine National Guard and the Maine Center for Disease Control to collaborate in reviewing the efficacy and safety of preventive health care and vaccination protocols for members of the Maine National Guard. The bill would also create a commission to review healthcare and other matters for Maine’s service members and veterans.

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