Time for renewed dialog on vaccines
Will the Trump administration promote vaccine hesitancy or create policies that are less than vaccine friendly? Or will his doubts about vaccines encourage hesitancy?
The vaccine community certainly needs to begin relating to the administration “in a positive dialog,” says Kathryn M Edwards, MD, FAAP, co-author of the September 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report “Countering vaccine hesitancy.”
Speaking of the president-elect, Edwards says, “Certainly someone who understands businesses and understands numbers should understand that there has probably never been anything more impactful in child health—other than clean water—than vaccines.”
Preventing children from getting disease by vaccinating is not only a smart health decision, but a smart business decision, she says.
Fears about vaccine hesitancy were again stirred when then-candidate Donald Trump met last summer with discredited researcher Andrew Wakefield and other like-minded people. Wakefield engendered much vaccine hesitancy with a fraudulent 1998 study, later retracted, suggesting a vaccine could cause autism.
Trump has repeatedly been quoted as saying immunizations have something to do with the autism “epidemic.”
In the Republican candidates’ debate on September 16, 2016, Trump said, “I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Because you take a baby in—and I've seen it—and I've seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a 2- or 3-year period of time.”
He went on to say he knew a recent instance in which a baby “got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
On the other hand, Edwards says she is also hopeful the newly named Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, as a physician will understand vaccines’ value. The Republican congressman from Georgia is an orthopedic surgeon and previously chaired the House of Representatives Budget Committee.