Will Trump Administration Promote Anti-Vaccine Agenda?

There have been some rumblings, and some not-so-distant history, that President-elect Donald Trump not only personally endorses the anti-vaccine movement, but may make it an agenda issue to be dealt with during his administration. Does the idea of a national anti-vaccine movement under Trump have credence?

Consider Donald Trump’s statements about vaccines and his belief that vaccines are behind the “epidemic of autism,” both as a candidate for president and pre-dating his candidacy:

From February 25, 2015:

Republican Primary Debates, Second Debate, Sept. 16, 2015:

April 2, 2012:

As it turns out, Trump isn’t against vaccines for children; what he is against in the current recommended schedule of vaccines that is supported by the American Medical Association and other major medical groups that can include as many as 24 immunizations during the first two years of a child’s life, with sometimes up to five immunization injections in a single visit.

Trump isn’t the first person to come up with the idea of lengthening the time period between immunizations for infants, and in fact, GOP primary candidate Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, while stressing that Trump should look at the scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccinations and autism, then agreed with Trump’s idea that too many immunizations are given in too short a period of time.

Trump, a career businessman, asserted he has studied the topic of immunizations causing autism, a popular but debunked idea put forth by Andrew Wakefield in 1998 linking MMR, measles, mumps and rubella, vaccinations and autism, and believes that immunizations are, in fact, responsible for the “autism epidemic” in the United States. Trump has cited friends of his whose two-year-old child received a vaccination and “became autistic” as one of his criteria for his belief that vaccinations and autism are linked.

The president-elect is not alone in his belief that childhood immunizations cause autism; according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, one in 10 Americans believe the same thing. One of those people, former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy, who heads the anti-vaccination charity, Generation Rescue, was a beneficiary of the Trump Foundation in 2010 when the foundation sent a check for $10,000 to support Generation Rescue’s efforts.

As Trump assembles his Cabinet and other key figures in his upcoming administration, he has made no mention of vaccinations, autism or his thoughts on the currently recommended immunization schedule. Whether the topics will be addressed once Trump assumes the presidency is yet to be seen – as well as what impact that may or may not have in the scientific and medical communities.

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