President Barack Obama says parents have “every reason” to vaccinate their children against measles.
“You should get your kids vaccinated,” Obama told Savannah Guthrie during an interview broadcast on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. “It’s good for them.”
Obama’s comments come as a measles outbreak centered in California has sickened more than 100 people in the United States. Doctors are urging parents not to listen to anti-vaccination activists who have convinced a small number of parents not to inoculate their children by claiming the vaccines can cause autism.
“I understand that there are families that in some cases are concerned about the effect of vaccinations,” Obama said. “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”
There have been no deaths reported from the recent measles outbreak. The highly contagious disease was once common in the United States but declined significantly because of higher vaccination rates. By 2000, it had been declared officially eradicated from the United States.
“We should be able to get back to the point where measles effectively is not existing in this country,” the president said.
During the wide-ranging interview, Obama was also asked about the beheadings of hostages seen on videos released by Islamic State militants — which the president said he watched.
“Anything related to these terrorist actions I take a look at,” Obama said, adding, “I think it would affect anybody who has an ounce of humanity.”
The president also said he thinks Americans are safer under his watch and the U.S. has been “pretty successful” preventing major attacks since Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s important for us to also just look at the track record of how many Americans have actually been killed during the course of this past decade,” he said.