Biden tells Ohio lawmakers Obama wanted to offer more childhood vaccines

Joe Biden told fellow Democratic lawmakers on Sunday that President Barack Obama’s administration had plans to provide Ohio Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati with more childhood vaccines as a way to reduce the potential for outbreaks of measles and other diseases.

The former vice president made the announcement during a visit to the hospital with his son Beau during his time as vice president. His son died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46.

“Since I used to go down there all the time as vice president and see his staff, and now I can go back there and see him, there are some things I’ve learned that I know about,” Biden said. “And I’ve told them, I said, ‘I can give you a little preview of this.'”

According to the vice president, the CDC was testing the use of one of the vaccines, called the Type A Jr. Tdap, in a pilot study with four infants before the 2016 election, but it was not yet being administered in a clinical trial.

If the pilot study is deemed a success, the government will “make a strong push for the vaccine” before the next election, Biden said.

“They did one of the Tdap vaccines in that pilot study. And that was during the Trump administration and the Obama administration. I’m hearing it’s now going to expand. So we’re going to be working at that,” he added.

The vice president emphasized his own concern for the spread of “fake news” and said he would speak with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about content on the social media platform.

“I got an update yesterday on the fake news and all the things I’m trying to do with Facebook and my message was, ‘God damn it, we need to get this stuff done,'” Biden said. “They understood. I think Zuckerberg is listening.”

Biden said that when he is in touch with Trump administration officials, he never “thinks I can get a hearing.”

“I’ve said this before: Forget Trump, let’s be clear about this: This is a symptom of a larger infection that nobody seems to be able to cure,” he said. “We have an epidemic of fake news. We have an epidemic of trolling. We have an epidemic of celebrity culture. We have a problem with what I call vapid people. So let’s be clear about this: We’ve got to fix this system.”

Democratic leaders on Sunday expressed support for the Biden administration proposal.

“Today, as the vice president is in Ohio visiting children, he announced that the Obama administration had plans to expand availability of the mtvU ‘smart shot’ measles vaccine to children living in the United States,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Dr. Biden’s inspiring commitment to protecting our children and preventing deadly outbreaks underscores why he should be considered a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. I join with the American public in thanking the Obama Administration for their dedication to protecting our children from dangerous, preventable diseases. The Obama administration’s response to measles is a model of caring leadership, and now I hope that the Trump administration will move quickly to develop a similar plan.”

Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders praised Biden on Sunday.

“The Vice President’s announcement on measles was just the latest in a series of courageous efforts by Joe Biden to expand access to vaccines in this country. I’ve heard many of you say you don’t have the right to get cancer because you refuse the recommended vaccines. That is an absolute outrage, and Joe Biden is right to go in the courts to make sure that all Americans have the right to have a vaccine. This is something that we can all agree on,” Sanders said.

Biden also urged his Democratic colleagues on Sunday to stand by Democratic efforts to overturn a Supreme Court decision that granted employers the right to require workers to pay for health insurance plans that cover procedures with which they objected.

“We need to do something now. It’s all about gonna have a different kind of society, move to a less individualistic society,” Biden said. “And I think a lot of us need to think of this all the time, but if you watch Fox News it’s all about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.”

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