President-elect Donald Trump used his campaign to voice his concerns over vaccines and, more specifically, his belief that vaccines cause autism. Trump held a meeting with Robert Kennedy Jr., who is also a vaccine skeptic, at Trump Tower Tuesday, asking him to lead the panel on vaccine safety. Trump and Kennedy will be fighting an uphill battle proving vaccines are linked to autism, as the only researcher linking the two admitted he falsified his findings in 2004.
Kennedy has long been an outspoken critic of vaccines; he recently accused the Center for Disease Control of orchestrating a “cover-up of the vaccine-autism connection.” Soon after that, he scolded the media for “undue reverence for the CDC.”
Kennedy told reporters after the meeting that “President-elect Trump was very thoughtful on the issue and that he had agreed to lead the commission.
“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies and he has questions about it,” Kennedy said. “He says his opinion doesn’t matter, but the science does matter and we ought to be reading the science and we ought to be debating the science.”
Kennedy added, “Everybody ought to be able to be assured that the vaccines that we have — he’s very pro-vaccine, as am I — but that they’re as safe as they possibly can be.”
Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who represents Sacramento in the California Senate, was among many that expressed dismay in Trump using his presidency to advance Kennedy’s “anti-science agenda.”
Pan recently disagreed with Kennedy’s claims.“I think it is dangerous that he is spreading misinformation about something that’s very important for public health.”
Former Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, commented on the issue saying, “I think he’s [Trump] an intelligent man and will make the correct decision after getting the real facts. Carson added, “The fact of the matter is we have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations.”
Only time will tell if Trump finds Carson or Kennedy more convincing.