Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives'

Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives'
© Greg Nash

Top lawmakers from both parties are signing onto a bipartisan "dear colleague" letter to members of Congress to say that "vaccines save lives." 

While the letter did not mention President Trump, he has publicly questioned the effectiveness of vaccines and whether they are linked to autisim. 

"We write to you today to highlight the importance of immunizations, which protect Americans, especially infants and children, against outbreaks of serious and deadly infectious diseases," reads the letter, signed by Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Trump administration pays June ObamaCare subsidies to insurers Republicans and the lost promise of local control in education MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Senators grill Perry on Yucca nuclear storage plans MORE (D-Wash.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate's health committee, respectively. 

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The letter is also signed by Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Texas Reps. Michael BurgessMichael BurgessMedicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue New hope for ObamaCare repeal? Key GOP lawmaker working on amendment MORE (R) and Gene GreenGene GreenCongress has best opportunity in years to reform fisheries management in federal waters Lobbying World A guide to the committees: House MORE (D), chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee on health.

The letter touts the introduction of vaccines as a "turning point" in public health that led to the elimination of polio and measles. 

But, the lawmakers said, there are "increasing trends" in the country that have led to lower vaccination rates and outbreaks of infectious diseases. 

"As members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases," the letter said. 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a noted vaccine skeptic, said last week that Trump still wants a vaccine safety committee. The two met in January. 

A spokesman with the Trump's office said in January that "no decision have been made" about the committee. 

Trump has previously questioned whether vaccines are linked to autism, but scientists and researchers have found no evidence connecting vaccines to developmental disorders. 

But it's noteworthy that Tom Price, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, rejected the correlation during his confirmation hearing last month. 

"The science on that is that it does not [cause autism]," Price said