From the Left



Vaccination is a social responsibility

By Robert B. Reich, Tribune Content Agency on

I remember having measles as a kid. Believe me, it was no fun. Also, measles could cause birth defects if a pregnant women were to be infected. If you were elderly, measles could be fatal.

Eventually, after vaccinations became nearly universal in America, measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.

But now the measles are back, already surpassing 700 cases this year, in 22 states. So far, at least 66 people have been hospitalized, a third of them with pneumonia.

What happened? We stopped vaccinating everyone. More than 500 of the new cases are in people who had not been vaccinated.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renewed an urgent call for parents to have their children vaccinated.

We stopped vaccinating all children because some parents have had religious objections. Others haven't liked the idea of injecting a live virus into their little ones. Some just never got around to it.


And some parents, succumbing to growing skepticism about science and burgeoning conspiracy theories, believe vaccinations cause autism. The claim has been promoted by Russian internet trolls as well as Donald Trump.

In a 2015 presidential debate, Trump told of an employee with a 2-year-old daughter who "went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."

Trump has finally stopped pushing this lie. Last month he tersely said "they have to get the shot," which is about as much of a concession to the truth anyone can expect from America's liar-in-chief.

In reality there's zero evidence connecting measles vaccine to autism.


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