Vaccine Skeptic Says Trump Asked Him To Head Panel On 'Vaccine Safety'

Zachary BarrettJan 12, 2017

The President-elect posted a tweet suggesting that children get many vaccines at the same time and end up developing autism. This news has anxious vaccine experts and health workers, as they believe that the president creating such a panel could strengthen vaccine opponents' beliefs that vaccines cause autism. But he can appoint vaccine-doubters to his administration.

The claim has been denounced as unsafe by doctors. Kennedy has also linked vaccines and autism on his website.

Thimerosal has since been removed from most vaccines recommended for children under the age of 6, according to the FDA.

"I've seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child, and they go for the vaccinations, and a month later the child is no longer healthy", Trump said.

Kennedy has previously said there is a link between the mercury in vaccines and mental disability.

In response to Trump's meeting with Kennedy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement emphasizing the safety of vaccines and their importance in safeguarding children's health against common, easily spread and sometimes deadly, childhood illnesses.

Both men share a belief that there is a link between vaccines and autism.

In 2005, Kennedy wrote an article for Rolling Stone and Salon alleging that the federal government was covering up the danger of vaccines.

"It gives it a quasi-legitimacy that I frankly find frightening", William Schaffner, preventive medicine and infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University, said in an interview with New York Times. "Autism is a genetic condition".

Are vaccines safe? The overwhelming scientific consensus is "Yes".

Critics said the anti-vaccination rhetoric could result in an upswing in preventable diseases and said no proof has been found linking vaccines and autism. In other words, these parents don't feel that it's important to contribute to herd immunity, which protects individuals in a community who are unable to receive vaccines, Reich said.

Vials of Priorix, Synflorix and Hexyon children's vaccines, which combat diseases incuding mealses, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, stand on February 26, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

Trump repeated these concerns during a Republican presidential primary debate past year.

"You take this little attractive baby, and you pump - I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not for a child, and we've had so many instances, people that work for me", Trump said. Childhood vaccines cause autism, he asserted at a debate in 2015, echoing statements he had made in 2014 and 2012.

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