Donald Trump is a supporter of the anti-vaxxers movement and that’s going to bring about new disease outbreaks according to a leading infectious disease expert.
“When someone takes a public policy position that weakens vaccine programs, they are threatening everybody’s health,” University of Toronto medical professor David Fishman explained to Global News. “They are threatening my health.”
Robert Kennedy Jr. has been selected to head the panel on Vaccine Safety and Scientific Integrity after meeting with the president-elect last Tuesday. He is notably a skeptic of vaccinations and has spoken publicly about his opinions.
Donald Trump has openly voiced his skepticism about vaccinations in the past, fully rejecting long-standing science in favor of a growing opinion that favors opinion over facts.
Trump’s misinformed views on vaccines have been well-documents and have vaccination experts worried about the future state of the American healthcare system.
This past summer, Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced pediatrician who authored the now-debunked study that launched the anti-vaxxer movement, met with Donald Trump. It should be noted that Wakefield’s study was discredited and his medical license was revoked. He later admitted to lying about every fact found in his research. Wakefield planned to discredit current vaccinations and then offer his own MMR vaccine.
In September of 2014, [Trump] tweeted, “I’m not against vaccinations for your children, I’m against them in 1 massive dose. Spread them out over a period of time & autism will drop!”
He follow that up in March 2015 by tweeting: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!”
Fishman is worried that the President-elect’s views could scare parents away from life-saving vaccinations.
“I think it’s extremely irresponsible,” Fisman says. “He bears the responsibility for outbreaks and epidemics that occur as a result of these signals, because he’s in a leadership position.”
“There is no doubt about what happens when a disease like measles, which is highly, highly infectious, and you decrease vaccine coverage for that disease,” Fisman added. “There is no mystery about what is going to happen next. What is going to happen next is that you’re going to have outbreaks and epidemics.”
Fishman says an anti-vaccine ideology stamp of approval from the White House is the worst-case scenario.
“When anti-vaccinationists get credibility, and when they are actually able to influence policy, vaccination rates drop,” he said. “What happens when vaccination rates drop is that diseases, especially highly infectious diseases like measles and mumps and rubella, resurge. What happens when those diseases resurge is that real children are sickened and real children are killed.”
Fishman admits that new outbreaks could actually help the vaccination movement, “but that comes at the cost of sick kids and potentially dead kids.”
It should be noted that there are already dozens of government groups that examine vaccination safety with the help of established and trust scientific researchers.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.