Trump, vaccine, Anti-Vaccination

Trump’s Anti-Vaccination Rhetoric Causes Uproar Among Public Health Advocates

A former Virginia congresswoman said Trump couldn't cut funding for schools with vaccine policies, thanks to state law.

Former President Donald Trump’s increased talk of anti-vaccine sentiments is causing concern for supporters and public health advocates. 

During a recent campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia, the GOP presidential frontrunner admitted that he would cut funding for public schools that push vaccine policies and implement mandates.

“I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate,” he said to a crowd of cheers. 

After announcing it repeatedly, the Trump campaign claims his anti-vaccination stance is only toward school, but public health advocates worry this may lead to a trend of declining child vaccination.

Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, thinks someone of this caliber pushing this narrative can be dangerous.

“Trump is an important voice. He has a big platform. And he uses that platform, in this case, to do harm,” Offit told The Hill. “Because he’s implying by saying that we shouldn’t mandate vaccines, vaccines are in some ways ineffective or unsafe.” 

The irony is that the Trump administration spearheaded Operation Warp Speed, a government-implemented partnership that assisted companies with new technology to create two effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. 

However, many voters are against anti-vaccination, especially in schools. “I appreciate Trump’s current outlook on vaccines. However, he’s part of the problem the vaccines created,” one voter said on Twitter. “It would do him well to explain the original push of vaccines, admit he was wrong, and apologize for his part in pushing them.”

Another highlighted the fact that diseases and viruses of the past—such as measles in Florida—are making a vast comeback because of the decline in vaccinations. “Sounds like measles, polio, and other preventable diseases are going to make a huge comeback,” @Stephen_WuzHere wrote. “Anyone got an iron lung?”

Former Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock tweeted how his ideology wouldn’t work given state law.

“Trump said in Richmond that he will take all federal funds away from public schools that require vaccines,” she wrote. “Like most states, Virginia requires MMR vaccine, chickenpox vaccine, polio, etc. So Trump would take millions in federal funds away from all Virginia public schools.”

And Virginia isn’t the only state. According to The Intelligencer, all 50 states have legislation mandating specific vaccination for students, starting with Massachusetts being the first to issue school immunization requirements in 1853. Several states have mandates in alignment with the recommended childhood vaccination schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are set by state law.

“These laws often apply not only to children attending public schools but also to those attending private schools and day care facilities,” the CDC said, according to its website.

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