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Vaccines have saved countless lives and trillions of dollars worth of medical expenses. Unfortunately, vaccines are victims of their own success; as diseases are eradicated, people forget how devastating they were and question the safety of vaccines themselves.
This legitimate concern has been answered by study after study: our vaccine schedule, as well as vaccines themselves, are safe, effective, and do not cause autism. The one study that proposed a connection between vaccines and autism was revealed to have conflicts of interest and fabricated data. Since then, no study—not even one partly funded by the anti-vaccine group, SafeMinds—has found any link whatsoever.
Yet suspicions linger. Because people think the (nonexistent) risk of autism is a fate worse than death, more and more people are choosing not to vaccinate. As a result, we are witnessing the comeback of once-eradicated diseases, like measles.
This can affect everyone. Vaccines rely partly on communal immunity, meaning a certain percentage of people must be vaccinated for full protection. If vaccine rates fall, people are at risk—even the inoculated, but especially the unvaccinated-by-choice and those who cannot be vaccinated due to age, allergy, or compromised immune systems.
As this danger persists, the fire of fear is further fueled by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly expressed his belief that vaccines are dangerous, both on Twitter and during the presidential campaign. In January 2017, he made news when he called on prominent anti-vaccine activist, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to chair a commission on vaccine safety. The Trump Administration was quick to add that no firm decisions had been made; however, as of February 2017, they announced they were still planning to establish a commission.
This would be fine if the science were not already settled on the issue and if every major health organization in the country did not agree on the importance of vaccines. Continuing to study a subject that has been thoroughly researched is not just a waste of time or moneyit is also a disservice to people with autism. It steals scientists' attention from what this community most desperately needs: support and evidence-based treatment. Furthermore, it increases prejudice toward an already-marginalized group by claiming they are vaccine-injured and damaged.
It is also dangerous to public health; many worry that future governmental decisions and policies could reduce vaccination rates, compromising our communal immunity and putting society's most vulnerable at risk of contracting deadly diseases.
Therefore, this fear-mongering nonsense needs to end. Tell President Trump to reverse his stance on vaccineswe already have more than enough scientific evidence that they are safe, effective, and vital to public health.
Vaccines are one of the most important medical advancements of our time. They have prevented—and in some cases, completely eradicated—deadly diseases.
However, skepticism has arisen that vaccines are linked to autism. Numerous peer-reviewed studies, both conducted within the United States and worldwide, have thoroughly debunked these claims and have confirmed that our current vaccine schedules are safe.
Even so, these false views have persisted, frightening many people, including you.
This fear of vaccines—of injections, conspiracy, and things the general public does not fully comprehend—is understandable. But when all major health organizations in the country collectively agree that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the astronomically small risks, we must set aside our fear and listen.
As the President of the United States, we ask that you lead our country by example and side with science—denouncing the thoroughly debunked claim that vaccines cause autism. Our loved ones are in grave danger—not due to vaccines, but due to deadly diseases that have been known to wreck havoc on humanity throughout history.
When we ask you to rescind your current position on vaccines, we speak for the infants and people with allergies or compromised immune symptoms—those who have no choice but to remain unvaccinated and must rely on strangers just to stay alive.
When we ask you to rescind your current position, we speak for the scientists who have much better things to do with their limited time, money, and resources than to continue studying a subject that has been thoroughly examined.
When we ask you to rescind your current position, we speak as and for the autism community, which desperately needs more support, not more prejudice. It is constantly demonized, viewed as damaged, and seen to be examples of the worst-case scenarioeven worse than preventable death. This needs to stop, now.
Vaccines do not cause autism. Any miniscule dangers of vaccines are outweighed by their enormous benefits. Please shed your fear and recognize the truth. The health and safety of the people depends on it.