Alex Azar: Trump’s Vaccine-Autism Remarks Were Part of a ‘Debate’

Heath and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says President Trump was only contributing to the “debate” when he made previous statements linking vaccines to autism, Politico reports. In a call with reporters Monday, Azar said Trump’s remarks claiming there were “many such cases” linking vaccines to autism were based on a “debate about this issue but it’s been settled. The scientific community generated definitive information so we can reassure every parent there is no link.” Azar said Trump has been “very clear that children should get their shots” and parents keep their children updated on their immunizations. “Most of us have never seen these devastating diseases and that’s how we want to keep it,” he said. “They belong in the history books and not in our emergency rooms.” The genesis of the false vaccine and autism link is largely attributed to a 1998 paper by gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield that has since been retracted. Wakefield was also stripped of his medical license. The current measles outbreaks, thought to have been made worse due to unvaccinated children, have reportedly affected over 700 people so far.