On Friday, President Donald Trump finally spoke out about the measles outbreak, urging people to immunize themselves.
“The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now,” said Trump to reporters at the White House. “They have to get their shots.”
This stance is a surprising reversal, given that Trump has spent years promoting conspiracy theories that vaccines cause autism and questioning the safety of the pediatric vaccine schedule. “No more massive injections,” Trump tweeted in 2014. “Tiny children are not horses.”
Trump’s change of heart is good news for public health — there is absolutely no scientific evidence that the vaccine schedule is a harm to children, and parents who do not follow it put kids at risk for potentially lethal diseases.
The current measles outbreak is the largest since the disease was declared eradicated in the United States in the year 2000, with over 600 confirmed cases. As parents distrustful of vaccines have joined the “antivaxxer” movement, immunization rates have fallen in some parts of the country, allowing measles and other preventable illnesses to resurge.