Donald Trump may be a big blowhard, espousing his belief that there's a link between vaccines and autism based on no medical facts. But with the bully pulpit he has, he can influence parents to not vaccinate their children and the price could be deadly.
Donald Trump, 69, refused to back down at the GOP debate on Sept. 16 from his apparently long held belief that vaccinations can cause autism. "Autism has become an epidemic," Trump pronounced during the debate. "Twenty-five years ago, thirty-five years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control." Then, after fellow candidate Dr. Ben Carson explained that many studies have proven there is no link between autism and vaccines, Trump STILL insisted that he had an employee whose child became autistic shortly after getting vaccinated at two years old.
Even after Carson persisted in explaining there was no link, Trump announced: "I am totally in favor of vaccines but I want smaller doses over time...you take this beautiful baby, and you pump -- I mean it, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not a child, and we've had so many instances, people that work for me."
So here are the big questions: #1 -- when did Donald Trump become such an expert on childhood vaccinations -- enough that he can confidently insist they are linked to autism, despite multiple studies that debunk that fraudulent theory?
Question #2: When did he become a doctor who is an expert on immunizations, and therefore such an authority that he can dictate that children should get smaller doses of vaccines and that they should be spread out more? Seriously, is he nuts? Does Trump have any expertise and does he really want the responsibility of influencing potentially thousands and thousands of parents not to vaccinate their children, or to demand that their children be given smaller doses of vaccines over a longer period of time?
First of all, Donald Trump has clearly never been to a pediatrician's office when one of his five children was being vaccinated. If he had, he would know that vaccination needles are NOT the size of a horse needle. The syringes are small, with tiny needles. But more importantly, all of the vaccines that children receive in their first few months and years are life-saving. They need to be given in the specific doses and at the recommended times in order to be effective and prevent children from catching potentially deadly diseases.
Fact: Properly Scheduled Vaccines Prevent Diseases
"The official vaccination schedule (used by pediatricians) is the only schedule that has been tested over and over again and proven to be the safest and most effective schedule," L.J. Tan, Chief Strategy Officer at the Immunization Action Coalition tells Hollywoodlife.com. "Other schedules [like Donald Trump is suggesting] have not been tested -- we don't know if they're effective." Donald Trump and Rand Paul, who also suggested at the GOP debate that not all vaccines are necessary, and Ben Carson, who ended up agreeing that the current schedule could be changed, should consider the danger of the diseases that they prevent in children.
Diphtheria and polio have high rates of fatality and can cause lifelong paralysis. In 1921, before the diphtheria vaccine had been invented, 15,520 people died of the disease in the U.S. I myself had a friend in high school who had a withered arm because he contracted polio as a child. Measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough and pneumonia are all diseases that can cause death or lead to serious complications like deafness, sterility in males, and brain damage. Pertussis can cause brain damage or death, and two-thirds of babies who contract it must be hospitalized.
Meningococcal disease causes death in 10% of the children who get it and many lose their limbs, become deaf or can become developmentally disabled. The virus rubella, if passed to pregnant women, can cause them to miscarry or can result in deafness, blindness and/or mental retardation in the fetus. Shall I go on? Every vaccination that children receive is a life and health saver. In recent history, an epidemic of rubella (German measles) in 1964-65 infected 12.5 million Americans, killed 2000 babies and caused 11,000 miscarriages.
Now, Donald would be wise to read up on vaccines and why they are given in certain amounts. "Vaccine doses are not chosen arbitrarily. During the four phases of vaccine development, different doses are tested to determine the lowest effective doses for the target age group," according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In other words, they're already given in the smallest doses in order to be effective. Furthermore, the idea that babies' immune systems can be overwhelmed by the 23 shots they receive by the time they're two, is a total and utter myth, according to parenting.com.
Children Are Naturally Equipped To Face Immune System Challenges
"Children have an enormous capacity to respond safely to challenges the immune system faces," Paul Ofitt, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told parenting.com. "A baby's body is bombarded with immunologic challenges -- from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe." His studies show that healthy infants could safely get up to 10,000 vaccines at once!
In other words, Donald Trump, there's no need to give babies smaller or more spaced out doses of vaccines. "Skipping vaccinations puts your baby at greater risk for potentially life-threatening diseases," explains Thomas Saari, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. What's so concerning is that vaccinations have somehow become a political issue that Donald Trump feels he can score points with.
As I said above, even Dr. Carson even started waffling on the issue when pressed. "There are a multitude of vaccines which don't fit in that [death or crippling] category and there should be some discretion in those cases." What? You're a pediatric doctor! GOP candidate and opthamologist Dr. Rand Paul also asserted that while he's "all for vaccinations, [he's] concerned with how they're all bunched up". Just to reassert, Dr. Carson, even the HPV vaccine prevents a very deadly disease -- cervical cancer. Rand Paul, please read this post.
Vaccinations aren't open for debate, as L.J. Tan tells Hollywoodlife.com. "What's troubling is the politicalization of an important children's health issue...anyone who encourages parents to go away from the vaccination schedule established by the Center for Disease Control is encouraging parents to step away from the best medical advice." Is Donald Trump really ready to deal with the consequences of his undermining the necessity of vaccines? Would he be prepared to deal with the outbreak of a major, deadly epidemic among the nation's children? That possibility should actually weigh heavy on his mind.