“It’s hard to overstate what this could mean” Trump’s Anti-Vaccine Proposal Threatens Children’s Health, Warns Conservative Commentator

 “It’s hard to overstate what this could mean” Trump’s Anti-Vaccine Proposal Threatens Children’s Health, Warns Conservative Commentator

© REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque

Former President Donald Trump’s proposal to coerce schools across the country into abandoning vaccine requirements poses significant risks to children’s health, conservative commentator Charlie Sykes warned in a critical editorial for MSNBC.

Trump has pledged multiple times to withhold all federal funding from schools that mandate vaccinations from kindergarten through college. His stance is not limited to COVID-19 vaccines but appears to challenge the entire pediatric vaccine schedule.

Currently, all states permit vaccine exemptions for health reasons, and most allow exemptions for religious reasons. Some states even permit exemptions for “philosophical” reasons, making it easier for parents to opt-out. However, Trump’s policy would go much further, pressuring schools to eliminate vaccine requirements altogether.

“It’s hard to overstate what this could mean,” wrote Sykes. “Every state, as well as the District of Columbia, has vaccination requirements for children attending school. It’s routine to require that children be immunized against measles, rubella, chickenpox, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B and pneumococcal disease. These mandates highlight one of the biggest triumphs of modern science. The proof is as dramatic as it is incontrovertible. Diseases that once killed hundreds of thousands of Americans have been eliminated or drastically reduced” — with smallpox being entirely eradicated, and polio effectively eradicated in the U.S. Between 1994 and 2021, these policies are thought to have prevented 472 million illnesses and over 1 million deaths.

Sykes highlighted a recent video on Truth Social where Trump criticized Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a well-known vaccine conspiracy theorist and third-party candidate, for not being stringent enough in restricting vaccine mandates. Trump told his followers not to consider Kennedy a conservative candidate, noting that Kennedy had publicly stated vaccines are acceptable.

“So, Republicans, get it out of your mind that you’re going to vote for this guy because he’s conservative. He’s not. And by the way, he said the other night that vaccines are fine. He said on a show, television show, that vaccines are fine. He’s all for them. And that’s what he said. And for those of you that want to vote because you think he’s an anti-vaxxer, he’s not really an anti-vaxxer,” Trump declared.

Sykes pointed out that many schools might choose to forgo federal funding and maintain their vaccine requirements, as federal funding constitutes only about 8 percent of nationwide K-12 school spending. However, he emphasized that the threat posed by Trump’s policy is substantial and could have dire consequences for children’s health. “The risk of Trump’s threat is very real, and the toll could be measured in the lives of America’s children. In 2024, that needs to be taken both literally and seriously,” Sykes concluded.

This stark warning underscores the potential public health crisis that could arise from such a drastic policy shift, highlighting the importance of maintaining vaccination requirements to protect children and communities from preventable diseases.

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