Daniel Summers: Donald Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just made pediatricians’ jobs a lot harder
If enough parents refuse to have their children vaccinated, the herd immunity that protects the nation as a whole will wane. There were a record number of measles cases in 2014, the majority in people who were unvaccinated. Does anyone want to share the experience of the Spanish parents whose unvaccinated son died of diphtheria in 2015, after that country had been free of the disease since 1986?
Of course not. But vaccine-preventable illnesses will only stay at bay if parents are appropriately reassured that the means of preventing them are safe and effective.
Will that be the conclusion of a Trump-created, Kennedy-led commission? I have absolutely no confidence that it will be. The mere creation of the commission, meant to investigate a question that has already been asked and answered many times over, is ominous, even aside from the anti-vaccine agenda both men unmistakably share. Given Trump’s disdain for facts that inconveniently conflict with his opinions, to believe the commission will land on the side of vaccination requires an optimism bordering on the deranged.