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Smallpox, once the world’s most deadly disease, no longer exists due to vaccines, with the last case occurring in the U.S. in 1949. Similarly, polio is on the verge of eradication. Thanks to targeted global efforts, polio has been stopped in all …

It could be argued that vaccines might be the most successful medical innovation of modern times. Globally, vaccines prevent the deaths of 2-3 million people every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that vaccinations “will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years” and that, from 1994 to 2014, vaccinations prevented 322 million cases of childhood illnesses.

Smallpox, once the world’s most deadly disease, no longer exists due to vaccines, with the last case occurring in the U.S. in 1949. Similarly, polio is on the verge of eradication. Thanks to targeted global efforts, polio has been stopped in all countries except for three: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. That said, perhaps due to parents not vaccinating their children, strains of polio have been imported into formerly eradicated countries, which leads to the next point …

The major issue with an anti-vaxxer president is the potential for politicization of vaccines. What happens if your political identity shapes your position on vaccines? All it takes is for a small segment of Trump’s supporters to be persuaded by his anti-vax rhetoric, choose not to vaccinate their children, which could then lead to a disastrous, lethal disease outbreak that could easily have been prevented.

Among the many conspiracy theories in President Trump’s arsenal—Fake News!, whatever “chaos” is happening (or rather not happening) in Sweden—is his insistence there is a connection between autism and vaccines. He’s made this scientifically rebuked connection in his speeches, tweets and even during the presidential debates. So it should come as no surprise that the notorious anti-vaxxer isn’t swaying from his beliefs now that he’s president.

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