The Reality

The evidence is solid: it shows that vaccines are safe and they save millions of lives each year.  Vaccinations have been shown over and over again to shield children from debilitating diseases, to keep them healthy and free of illnesses. Scientists, doctors, and public officials – including U.S. health agencies and organizations, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the American Academy of Pediatrics, have definitively and repeatedly studied the issue and found no link between vaccinations and autism.

The risks

Resurrecting long debunked theories and fraudulent claims that link vaccines to autism poses a significant threat to public health. 

In April 2017 public health authorities in Minnesota asked more than 200 people to quarantine themselves after 12 cases of measles were diagnosed in less than 2 weeks—all of them in unvaccinated children younger than 6 years. Across the ocean, an unvaccinated 17-year-old Portuguese girl died of measles after the virus invaded her lungs, in the midst of an outbreak there that mirrors surges in cases in Germany, Italy, and Romania.

Science's Special Package: Vaccines (AAAS publishes Science, an editorially independent, multidisciplinary, weekly peer-reviewed journal).

The response

For any administration that wants to make new policies about vaccinations, public interest demands that they follow established scientific evidence.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, just 72% of U.S. toddlers had received seven key vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which together protect against 11 potentially deadly diseases. That is actually an improvement from 2011, when the number was 69%; but it also indicates that much work remains to be done, particularly in an environment in which vaccine skeptics have been emboldened, not least by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Science's Special Package: Vaccines

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