President Trump’s criticism of the current vaccination schedule is against the views of most Americans, who overwhelmingly support vaccine requirements for public school children, according to a new Pew survey.
The survey found that 82% of Americans support current requirements that public school students be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The perceived benefits of MMR vaccines are overwhelmingly positive, with about 88% saying the purported benefits outweigh any potential risk. About 73% of Americans see high preventive health benefits, and 66% say there is a low risk of side effects, according to Pew.
The controversy over vaccination requirements began in 1998, when a now discredited study published in The Lancet linked increasing rates of autism to childhood vaccinations. The author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, has been banned from practicing medicine in the U.K., and is generally considered a fraud by the medical community.
Since winning the presidency, Trump has met with Wakefield and Robert Kennedy Jr., a reputed critic of childhood vaccination requirements the president has tapped to lead a commission on “vaccine safety and scientific integrity.” Trump has denied hiring Kennedy as well as the creation of any such commission.
Trump, a businessman who holds little value in science or medicine, claims the current MMR schedule is incorrect and that he has the answer.
“I am totally in favor of vaccines,” Trump said at a primary rally last year. “But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump–I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me. … [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
This and other less-than-educated statements on vaccines have public health experts worried. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, told FiercePharma that he and others are “apprehensive” about Trump’s plans for vaccination requirements, but cautiously optimistic the current schedule will remain in place.
The Pew survey found that public opinion on childhood vaccine research is overwhelmingly positive. The data showed 73% of adults believe scientists should dictate vaccine policy while only about 25% say politicians should decide.
Source: The Daily Beast