Vaccines are safe and effective and claims otherwise “have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature,” hundreds of state and national health organizations wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump this week.
In statements he made in his private life and on the 2016 campaign trail, Trump has been skeptical of vaccines. At one primary debate, Trump said “autism has become an epidemic” and that it’s gotten “totally out of control.” He believes that vaccines should be given on a different schedule. “I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time,” Trump said.
Trump stoked concerns of vaccine supporters again after winning the election when vocal vaccine critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he agreed to “chair a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity” at the then president-elect’s request.
The letter, from organizations including the American Pediatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association, called for a redoubling of efforts at the national level in the area of vaccines:
Vaccines protect the health of children and adults and save lives. They prevent life-threatening diseases, including forms of cancer. Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are one of the most significant medical innovations of our time. Because of the introduction of mass vaccinations, smallpox was declared eradicated from the world in 1977. Polio, a disease that routinely afflicted 13,000 to 20,000 Americans every year in the United States before the availability of the vaccine, was officially eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1991. Globally, vaccines prevent the deaths of roughly 2.5 million children per year. And, data shows that just for children born in the United States in 2009, routine childhood immunizations will prevent approximately 42,000 early deaths and 20 million cases of disease with savings of more than $82 billion in societal costs."
You can read the whole letter here.
Photo: Nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a whooping cough booster shot as she is held by her mother, Claudia Solorio, at a health clinic in Tacoma, Wash., in May, 2012. -Ted S. Warren/AP-File
Related reading on vaccines:
- Vaccines: California Governor Signs Bill Eliminating Most Exemptions
- NY Court: During Outbreaks, Schools Can Make Unvaccinated Students Stay Home
- Measles Outbreak Cues New Action on Vaccination Rules
- States Tightening Loopholes in School Vaccine Laws
- Mandate Education Before Vaccine Opt-Out, Colorado Task Force Says
- Donald Trump, Vaccines, Autism and Political Theater
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.