Donald Trump declared Friday that all children should be vaccinated – despite previously fanning the debunked myth that vaccines are linked to autism.
‘They have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots,’ Trump told CNN on Friday amid an escalating measles epidemic.
On Wednesday, US health officials announced 2019’s measles rate has already surpassed every other year’s caseload since measles was declared eradicated in 2000, with 695 cases since January 1.
It has struck anti-vaxxer communities in 22 states, with the majority of cases (390) recorded in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community, where myths about vaccines have thrived since the 1970s.
Donald Trump, pictured giving an address to the National Rifle Association on Friday, has finally endorsed MMR vaccines without caveats, as the nation battles a measles outbreak
There is no treatment or cure for measles, which is the most infectious human virus we know of.
A person with measles will infect 90 percent of unvaccinated people in their vicinity, and the virus can live up to two hours in a space where an infected person had breathed or coughed.
The virus causes fever, cough, and a full-body rash of blistering nodules, which can develop into pneumonia, meningitis, or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.
With millions dying a year, US health officials spent decades trying to develop a treatment, which has, to this date, been unsuccessful. But they did develop a vaccine, which prevented infectious and led to a 75 percent reduction in deaths. By 2000, the US declared measles effectively eradicated.
The current measles outbreak in the US started in Ukraine, which has a large measles outbreak at the moment, and often hosts holiday-goers from Israel, where vaccine rates are low.
Travelers brought the virus back to Israel, and soon it was picked up by unvaccinated Orthodox Jewish children from Brooklyn, who, as many do, were in Israel visiting their relatives.
The virus came to Brooklyn, Washington, upstate New York, California, and quickly spread.
Now, two pregnant women are among the infected in Brooklyn – an escalation that health officials have been nervously braced for, according to Dr Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group.
‘This is just such a sad, sad thing to see because all of this is preventable,’ Dr Poland told DailyMail.com.
Trump’s statement on Friday is the first time he has actively endorsed vaccines without implying risk.
The president has long insisted he is not against vaccines, but says he believes in spreading the vaccine out over time because he believes that giving the vaccine ‘in one big dose’ could cause side effects like autism – a viewpoint that has been repeatedly debunked for decades.
Donald Trump has insisted he believes in vaccines, despite implying that the vaccine given as one shot can cause autism, which is not true
In a lengthy long-tweet, Trump referred to standard, proven-to-be-safe vaccines as ‘heavy duty’, implying they are dangerous
In another tweet, Trump implied vaccines are linked to autism
In March 2014, Trump tweeted: ‘Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!’
Later that month, he tweeted: ‘With autism being way up, what do we have to lose by having doctors give small dose vaccines vs. big pump doses into those tiny bodies?’
In April 2014, he tweeted: ‘So many people don’t understand I am a big proponent of vaccines for children—just not in one massive dose—spread them out over time.’
In April 2012, he long-tweeted: ‘I’ve gotten many letters from people fighting autism thanking me for stating how dangerous 38 vaccines on a baby/toddler under 24 months are. It is totally insane – a baby cannot handle such tremendous trauma. Now they come up with this ridiculous study blaming obesity in the mother. The FDA should immediately stop heavy dose vaccinations and you will see a huge decrease in children with autism. What do they have to lose—nothing—but plenty to gain if I am correct. There is great dishonesty about autism!’
IS ANDREW WAKEFIELD’S DISCREDITED AUTISM RESEARCH TO BLAME FOR LOW MEASLES VACCINATION RATES?
Andrew Wakefield’s discredited autism research has long been blamed for a drop in measles vaccination rates
In 1995, gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet showing children who had been vaccinated against MMR were more likely to have bowel disease and autism.
He speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue, leading to both of the disorders.
After a 1998 paper further confirmed this finding, Wakefield said: ‘The risk of this particular syndrome [what Wakefield termed ‘autistic enterocolitis’] developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.’
At the time, Wakefield had a patent for single measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and was therefore accused of having a conflict of interest.
Nonetheless, MMR vaccination rates in the US and the UK plummeted, until, in 2004, the editor of The Lancet Dr Richard Horton described Wakefield’s research as ‘fundamentally flawed’, adding he was paid by a group pursuing lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.
The Lancet formally retracted Wakefield’s research paper in 2010.
Three months later, the General Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine in Britain, stating his research had shown a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s health.
On January 6 2011, The British Medical Journal published a report showing that of the 12 children included in Wakefield’s 1995 study, at most two had autistic symptoms post vaccination, rather than the eight he claimed.
At least two of the children also had developmental delays before they were vaccinated, yet Wakefield’s paper claimed they were all ‘previously normal’.
Further findings revealed none of the children had autism, non-specific colitis or symptoms within days of receiving the MMR vaccine, yet the study claimed six of the participants suffered all three.