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Congressional Health Committee Leaders from Both Parties Write: ‘Vaccines Save Lives’

Washington, DC, February 23, 2017 — Jessie Hellmann reports in The Hill that 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 autism.

The letter was signed by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate’s health committee, respectively.

It also was 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 Burgess (R) and Gene Green (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 President Trump still wants a vaccine safety committee.  The two met in January.

A Trump spokesman in January said no decision had yet been made regarding a vaccine safety committee.

For Hellmann’s full story, click here.