I’m not going to take the easy lay-up by running through his statements over the years expressing skepticism about vaccines. He did a good thing here.
He should do more of it, writes Tiana Lowe:
Most political adversaries ought to be reasoned and negotiated with. But vaccine opponents aren’t most political adversaries. They’re conspiracy theorists as averse to scientific evidence and facts as 9/11 truthers. Ample studies demonstrate that throwing more science at vaccine opponents only makes them double down. So instead, existing vaccine opponents can be deterred by disgusting, graphic depictions of the effects of measles and smallpox, and stigmatizing the conspiracy prevents more people from embracing it.
So Trump ought to embrace his inner bulldozer and tweet images of measles patients, statistics of outbreaks, and demands that American vaccinate their children every single day.
I don’t know if I’m ready for pics of kids disfigured by measles amid the daily churn of “WITCH HUNT!” tweets, but if it works, let’s do it. What choice do we have?
The 2019 data reflects the number of cases nationally through only three and a half months, of course. There seems a fair chance that by December 31 we’ll have seen more cases this year than in the previous nine years of this decade combined. Out in L.A., Cal State has already quarantined nearly 700 people, ordering them to stay off campus because they can’t provide proof that they’ve been vaccinated. Per Gizmodo, anyone born before 1989 would probably benefit from a booster shot since only after that year were children typically given two MMR doses to vaccinate them instead of one. The fear is not that we’re facing a true national epidemic — presumably too many people are vaccinated for that — but that the disease will spread just enough to make it a recurring problem in years to come. “It does have the potential to regain a foothold in the United States, and then put us back to have to renew efforts to once again try to eradicate it,” said the head of the CDC.
As for Trump’s advocacy, it can only help. We haven’t yet reached the level of batsh*t partisanship, I hope, in which his endorsement of vaccines might lead members of the Resistance to shy away out of spite. Exit quotation from a professor at Penn, who criticized Trump recently for not speaking out about the outbreak: “To me, this is one of the best things President Trump has done… I hope my fellow liberals will take a break from lambasting the President and congratulate him. Whatever his other wrongs, he was dead right about this.”