A public health expert has called for collaboration between physicians and scientists to stymie a barrage of challenges that he believes may threaten the vaccination system in this country.

“Continued leadership of organized medicine and its members should help withstand direct assaults on the scientific foundation of vaccination,” argues Joshua Sharfstein, MD, associate dean for public health practice and training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore in a recent JAMA Forum blog post.

Certain actions taken by the Trump administration have prompted fears that the anti-vaccine movement is growing, he explained. 

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For example, President Trump publicly questioned whether vaccines cause autism, and he has also met with Andrew Wakefield, MBBS, the scientist whose widely-discredited work alleged a connection between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. 

President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, MD, also opposes laws for mandatory vaccination of school children, the author said.

“It is foreseeable that in the coming weeks, challenges to our vaccination system will come from three directions at once,” warned Dr Sharfstein.

He pointed out that coverage by the media, as well as public protests and opposition by figures  such as Secretary Price to laws requiring vaccination prior to school entry, will bring attention to theories that question vaccine safety.

Dr Sharfstein also warned of efforts by the administration to undermine public trust in the agencies and organizations that are responsible for vaccine safety.

These challenges are being responded to from many angles, Dr Sharstein said.