Lindsey Wasson | Reuters
A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella virus (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019.
President Donald Trump urged people to get vaccinated for measles, saying Friday it’s “so important” amid the worst year for the disease in the U.S. since it was declared eradicated from the country in 2000.
“They have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots,” Trump told reporters in response to a question about measles before departing for Indiana to give a speech at the annual National Rifle Associatio convention.
Trump had previously been silent on the issue, even as the disease spread across 22 states. So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 695 cases so far this year, surpassing the previous record in just the first four months of the year.
For more on investing in health care innovation, click here to join CNBC at our Healthy Returns Summit in New York City on May 21.
Encouraging people to get vaccinated marks a reversal for Trump, who has pushed false claims about vaccines in the past. He has questioned their safety and stoked fear that vaccinating babies might contribute to rising autism rates. Scientists have repeatedly debunked a now retracted study from the 1990s that falsely claimed vaccines cause autism.
Receiving both recommended doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is 97% effective in preventing the measles, according to the CDC. Measles is highly contagious, infecting 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the disease, the agency said.