The decades of good childhood vaccinations have done might not continue apace under the coming Trump administration. The anti-vaccine movement believes that vaccines can cause health problems in children, most notably autism. Medical journals, including Managed Care, are unanimous in saying that these concerns are ill-founded. But thanks in part to high-profile celebrity supporters such as Bill Maher, Jenny McCarthy, and Jim Carrey, the movement doesn’t seem to have been slowed by the slew of clinical research debunking it. But one name in particular stands out on this list of prominent anti-vaccine celebrities: Donald Trump.
Trump’s coming ascendancy to the presidency has given anti-vaccine activists new hope that their cause will be heard, STAT reports. The movement’s leader, Andrew Wakefield, found Trump to be a very sympathetic audience when they met this summer. “For the first time in a long time, I feel very positive about this, because Donald Trump is not beholden to the pharmaceutical industry,” Wakefield tells STAT.
Some health experts don’t believe Trump will alter federal vaccine policy, but one cannot ignore the effect of the bully pulpit, says Paul Offit, the head of the infectious diseases department at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit tells STAT that, “Even if he doesn’t change federal policy, he still is no doubt strengthening the belief some parents have that vaccines have done harm and therefore they should choose not to vaccinate their children.”