Leading Health Groups Tell Trump: Vaccines Safe, Save Lives

Megan Brooks

February 10, 2017

The American Academy of Pediatrics and some 350 other leading US medical, advocacy, and professional organizations have sent a letter to President Trump expressing their "unequivocal support" for the safety 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," the letter reads.

In January, as reported by Medscape Medical News, a spokeswoman for then President-elect Trump told CNN he was considering forming a commission on autism. It was reported at the time that Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a proponent of the debunked theory that vaccines cause autism, was in the running to head the commission.

Kennedy has promoted the widely discredited notion that childhood vaccines and influenza vaccines containing thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, can trigger autism and other neurologic disorders. Trump has voiced similar views in speeches and tweets.

Globally, vaccines prevent the deaths of roughly 2.5 million children each year, the letter notes. Just among children born in the United States in 2009, routine childhood immunizations will prevent roughly 42,000 premature deaths and 20 million cases of disease at a savings of more than $82 billion, it points out.

Claims that vaccines are unsafe when administered according to expert recommendations have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature, including an exhaustive review by the National Academy of Medicine, the letter says.

The February 7 letter includes an attachment from healthychildren.org that provides a snapshot of published studies on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

"Delaying vaccines only leaves our nation's citizens at risk of disease, particularly children. As a nation we should redouble our efforts to make needed investments in patient and family education about the importance of vaccines in order to increase the rate of vaccination among all populations," the letter reads.

It concludes: "Put simply: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines safe lives."

The organizations signing the letter say they welcome the opportunity to meet with President Trump to share the "robust, extensive scientific evidence supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness."

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