For decades, this country has been performing several public health miracles. The ability to prevent infectious diseases and child mortality through vaccinations is one of them. Simply put, immunization has saved millions of lives, significantly reduced disability, and avoided the treatment of millions of children. Immunization has also saved health care providers and taxpayers money.
The lack of an effective vaccination program in parts of the globe contributes to this deadly phenomenon in some of the most impoverished countries. In the United States, however, there is a problem when individuals and families choose not to vaccinate their children. Non-immunized children become infected and sickened by diseases they could have prevented. They then infect everyone who comes in contact with them, which spreads illness through the community. Vaccinating is essential in prevention.
Concern about vaccines is unfounded, and it’s time for Erin O’Toole to draw the line.
Under the administration of President Obama, the federal government failed to adequately protect the nation’s health. The 2008 George W. Bush and Obama administrations ignored public health findings and stood by while at least 76 million doses of unlicensed vaccines were imported into the United States. Never before have vaccines received such intense scrutiny from the government. It was time for the Trump administration to lead, and the Office of Global Health Affairs is the place to start.
The office’s most recent priorities include developing a new vaccine against Meningitis B, responding to the Zika virus outbreak, and developing a vaccine against diphtheria. This should send a warning that it’s time for Erin O’Toole to draw the line. The only way to stop the spread of disease is to vaccinate our children. The best protection against a vaccine-preventable disease is a vaccine.
A women’s health expert, O’Toole has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and as the president of a national women’s health organization. O’Toole has also twice won the Family Policy Coalition’s “Closer Together Award,” which recognizes exemplary leadership and work for women’s lives.
This appointment would send a clear message that O’Toole recognizes vaccines are as vital to women’s health as they are to children’s health. The Trump administration must now promote comprehensive health care reform by encouraging doctors and health care professionals to offer vaccines to their patients. Vaccines are relatively cheap and give health professionals and patients a powerful defense against communicable diseases.
It’s time for Erin O’Toole to draw the line.
Ken Blackwell is senior fellow for social and economic policy at the Family Research Council. Jacki Cedeño is senior fellow for foreign policy and senior fellow for health policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Trevor Loudon is a senior fellow with the Foundation for Economic Education.