- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The director of the National Institutes of Health pleaded with Americans Tuesday to get their children vaccinated, saying it is a safe and effective way to fulfill First Lady Melania Trump’s call to “Be Best.”

“Do what the president said last week — get them to get their shots,” Dr. Francis Collins said from the White House Rose Garden.

Mr. Trump and Cabinet members are imploring American families to get their children immunized amid an alarming spate of measles cases.

Federal health officials said Monday that 764 measles infections in 23 states have been reported this year — the most since 1994, when 963 cases were reported. Many of the cases were reported in communities that resist vaccination.

Dr. Collins’ issued his call as part of the one-year anniversary celebration of “Be Best,” the first lady’s signature initiative.

The program is focused on kids’ physical and emotional health, responsible social media use and the effects of the opioid crisis on children.

As the president watched from the front row, Mrs. Trump told the Rose Garden crowd that as a mother and first lady, she is worried about risky online behavior, drug abuse and “destructive actions such as bullying.”

Some have scoffed at Mrs. Trump’s push to build character and fight bullying among children, given her husband’s proclivity for calling rivals nicknames or mocking them on Twitter.

The first lady has rejected that criticism and taken her initiative on the road. She criss-crossed the country in March to visit an Oklahoma school that promotes character-building, take part in an opioid summit in Las Vegas and speak to Microsoft in Washington State about getting kids to surf the internet safely.

She touted productive talks with international ambassadors and recalled a trip to Africa that inspired one local to start a “GoFundMe” page for school construction.

Mrs. Trump said she plans to make another international trip this fall, though the White House is still finalizing details.

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