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 AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate's health committee, respectively. 

ADVERTISEMENT
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 Clifton BurgessHarvey response puts squeeze on GOP Medicaid efficiency is needed now, more than ever In the politics of healthcare reform, past is prologue MORE (R) and Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenSeven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation Texas Dem rep announces plans to retire Five things to know about GOP's gun-suppressor bill 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