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Sunday, February 12, 2017

In Light of Autism Comments, White House Prodded on Vaccines

From DisabilityScoop

By Shaun Heasley
February 9, 2017

Hundreds of organizations — including many of the nation’s leading autism and disability advocacy groups — have written to President Donald Trump in an effort to dispel fears about vaccines.

“We write to express our unequivocal support for the safety of vaccines,” reads the letter sent to the White House this week.

It is signed by more than 350 organizations including The Arc, Autism Speaks, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the Autism Science Foundation and Easter Seals.

Spearheaded by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the letter to Trump appears to come in response to comments he’s made about the current vaccine schedule and a widely-debunked link to autism.

During a 2015 Republican primary debate in California, Trump said that he knew a child who became sick a week after receiving a vaccine and developed autism. The president indicated at the time that he was not against vaccines, but believed that using smaller doses over a longer period of time would have a “big impact on autism.”

More recently, Trump met in January with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has warned of a link between autism and vaccines. After the meeting, Kennedy indicated that Trump asked him to head a commission “on vaccine safety and scientific integrity.”

A Trump spokeswoman later said that the president is “exploring the possibility” of such a commission.

“Claims that vaccines are unsafe when administered according to expert recommendations have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature, including a thorough review by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine),” reads the organizations’ letter, which includes 18 pages of information about studies on the topic.

“Put simply: Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives. Our organizations welcome the opportunity to meet with you to share the robust, extensive scientific evidence supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness,” the groups said.

So far, the letter has not elicited any response from the White House, according to Devin Miller from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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