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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Trump, Autism, and Vaccines

Noam N. Levey and Chris Megerian at LAT:
Even as President Trump claims credit for the rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19, it remains unclear whether he will take the vaccine and how hard he’ll work to persuade skeptical followers to get immunized, particularly after he leaves office.

Other former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — have publicly committed to taking the vaccine, which may be shipped out to medical centers and nursing homes as soon as this weekend. So have President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Public health leaders say an all-out national effort will be necessary to persuade unwilling Americans — including a majority of Republicans, according to polls — to sign up and get a shot when the vaccine becomes more widely available, probably in the spring.


Throughout the pandemic, Trump has been openly dismissive of public health guidance, eschewing and mocking mask-wearing and encouraging his supporters to pack into venues for his rallies, as recently as Saturday night in Georgia, despite the state’s surge in infections.

And, in the past, Trump has embraced the widely discredited notion that childhood vaccinations are linked to autism. “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM. Many such cases!” Trump tweeted on March 28, 2014.

Trump has never retracted that claim.

His party continues to embrace antivaxxers.