President Trump wants to give the US flu vaccine production a shot in the arm.
The former vaccine skeptic is working on an executive order that would direct the Health and Human Services department to overhaul how it cooks up flu vaccines, and he also has plans to encourage more Americans to get their shots, Politico reported Tuesday.
It’s a stark turnaround from Trump’s previous stance on inoculations, which he linked to autism in 2014 before he officially launched his political career.
“Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases,” Trump tweeted at the time.
As president, however, he encouraged parents to vaccinate their kids in response to a measles outbreak earlier this year.
“They have to get their shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots,” the president said outside the White House in April.
Annual flu vaccines are typically tailor-made for specific virus strains that are prevalent in a given flu season, but the still-incubating executive order would direct HHS to develop a universal flu shot that could be used year after year.
Part of Trump’s strategy is to give vaccine-makers more economic incentives to explore updated technologies, Politico reported.
Trump was swayed on the issue by a conversation he had in early 2018 with Bill Gates.