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 AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate 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 Clifton BurgessTrump officials propose easing privacy rules to improve addiction treatment House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran MORE (R) and Gene GreenRaymond (Gene) Eugene GreenTexas New Members 2019 Two Democrats become first Texas Latinas to serve in Congress Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 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