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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Trump Has Not Changed His Position on Vaccines

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns. In the 2016 campaign, a number of posts discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. He also has a bad record on science and disability issues more generally.

In response to a question, Trump recently said that parents should get vaccinations for their children. Some reports suggested that he was changing his position, but he was not. He has always claimed to be "pro-vaccine," but he has told parents to space out vaccinations. Many antivax activists make the same claim. But "spacing out" vaccines is harmful advice.

Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control.
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 two or three year 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.
Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.
I only say it's not -- I'm in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount.

Amid a growing measles outbreak, more parents are choosing to alter the recommended vaccine schedule for their children in hopes of not overwhelming their immune systems, a practice doctors say could be just as risky as not vaccinating at all.

Dr. Paul Offit, a physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Washington Examiner he has seen an uptick in parents asking whether they should alter the vaccine schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He tells parents that delaying vaccines doesn’t lessen any possible side effects from vaccines themselves, but rather that “it increases the amount of time that your child is vulnerable.”

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, has also seen an increase in parents asking about delaying vaccines. He told the Washington Examiner that spacing out doses is “all risk and no benefit.”

“The bottom line is that in spacing vaccines apart, parents only increase the likelihood that the vaccines won’t work,” Hotez said. “A lot of it is based on a theory with no evidence that giving vaccines close together overwhelms the immune system.”