Trump Taps Vax Alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Launch Review of Vaccines

f-kennedy

Vaccination skeptic alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he will oversee a presidential panel to review vaccine safety and science at the request of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, in a move likely to reignite debate over now-debunked research that tied childhood immunizations to autism.

sudan-beverly-hills-anti-vaxx

“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policy, and he has questions about it,” Kennedy, who has raised questions about the safety of vaccines, told reporters following a meeting with Trump in New York on Tuesday. “He asked me to chair a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. I said I would.”

mayer-vax

Vaccine experts decried the appointment of a vocal vaccine skeptic to explore the safety of vaccines and their purported link with autism, an association raised by a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 that vaxxclaimed to find a connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

That paper has been debunked, and The Lancet withdrew the study. Since then, numerous studies have affirmed the safety of the vaccine, most recently including a study of 100,000 children considered at high risk of developing autism.

“The concerns of public health officials and pediatricians and family doctors regarding the Trump administration and its attitude toward vaccines have just been reinforced,” said Dr. William Schaffner an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who advises the federal panel that sets U.S. vaccine policy.

Schaffner said Kennedy has “raised issues that have been settled securely and completely by good science, and 80,0000 pediatricians, many family doctors and the World Health Organization all reinforce the current recommended childhood immunization schedule. They are safe and they are effective.” Read the rest of this entry »


Bill Maher: Anti-Vaxxer? In Bizarre Interview, ‘Real Time’ Host Sides with Cuckoo Crackers Anti-Vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr.

mayer-vax

On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, noted anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came on to talk about the link between vaccine and autism. Maher took Kennedy’s side

Marlow Stern writes: It was a very Beasty episode of the HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher.

On Friday night, The Daily Beast contributors Ana Marie Cox and Liz Mair joined Maher and some bald guy from The Weekly Standard to discuss the latest current events topics.

But prior to all that, Maher conducted a sit-down interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who came on the program to promote his book Let the Science Speak, as well as the full-page ad Kennedy recently ran in USA Today claiming that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in vaccine medications, causes autism.

cuckoo-clock

It’s a stance Kennedy’s taken for quite some time.

Back in 2005, Kennedy made an infamous appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for an “autism” special. There, Kennedy preached his anti-vaxx stance, claiming not only that vaccines cause autism, but also The Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmakers: "The Last Mountain"that there’s a wide-ranging conspiracy to cover this fact up involving the government, academia, and Big Pharma. Stewart, who’d later rip anti-vaxxers a new one in a February 2015 Daily Show rant, just nodded his head and said, “I appreciate you getting the word out.”

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

And just last week Kennedy apologized for a statement he made calling the number of children injured by vaccines “a holocaust.”

“Obviously some minority gets hurt by this stuff. I don’t understand why this is controversial? Why we have this emotional debate about something that—there is science there.”

Maher opened the interview asking him about the USA Today ad, and his anti-vaxx stance.

“I got dragged into the vaccine issue kicking and screaming because I was going around the country suing coal-burning power plants and talking about the dangers of mercury coming from those plants, and almost everywhere I stopped or I spoke there were women there—very eloquent, articulate, grounded people—who said, ‘You have to look at the biggest factor of mercury in American children now, and it’s vaccines, and we need you to look at the science,’” Kennedy said.

jenny_mccarthy-ANTI-VAX

“And I resisted for a long time but I started reading the science after a while, and I’m very comfortable reading science,” continued Kennedy. “I’ve brought hundreds and hundreds of successful lawsuits, and most of them have involved scientific controversies. I’m comfortable reading science and dissecting it, and discerning the difference between junk science and real science. When I started looking at it, what I saw was very alarming, which is we were giving huge amounts of mercury to our children. A lot of it has been taken out of vaccines, but there’s still an extraordinary amount in vaccines—in particular the flu vaccine.”

Kennedy went on to answer Maher’s softball questions by explaining what he believes are the “unanimous dangers of thimerosal” and “the links between thimerosal and an epidemic of neurological disorders that are now afflicting American children: ADD, ADHD, speech delay, language delay, hyperactivity disorder, ASD, and autism, all of which began in 1989, the year they changed the vaccine schedule.”

Then, Kennedy made an interesting admission. Read the rest of this entry »


[REWIND] Barack Obama 2008: ‘Americans… must know the health effects that are caused by the presence of mercury in vaccines’

obama-judgement-to-lead

Posted by Orac on April 22, 2008:

Well, so much for Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s reputations for supposedly being well-informed about scientific issues. True, they didn’t sink as far into the stupid as John McCain didabout vaccines and autism, but what they said was bad enough. Let’s put it this way: If David Kirbythinks what they said about vaccines and autism is just great, they seriously need to fire all their medical advisors and get new ones who know how to evaluate evidence:Obama-2008

No matter who wins in Pennsylvania today, the next President of the United States will support research into the growing evidence of some link between vaccines and autism.

Senator John McCain has already expressed his belief that vaccines and the mercury containing preservative thimerosal could be implicated in what he has rightly termed an “autism epidemic.”

Senator Hillary Clinton, in response to a questionaire from the autism activist group A-CHAMP, wrote that she was “Committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.” And when asked if she would support a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children, she said: “Yes. We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism – but we should find out.”

And now, yesterday, at a rally in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama had this rather surprising thing to say:

“We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”

True, this is not quite as bad as John McCain’s incredible ignorance, but it’s pretty bad.

Obama’s statement, even if the interpretation that his saying “this person included” was referring to someone in the crowd and not referring to himself, is nonetheless particularly ignorant and egregious. The science is quite conclusive thus far that vaccines do not cause autism and becomes more convincing every year. Obama is just plain wrong about implying that vaccines have something to do with an “autism epidemic,” and he was wrong when his campaign supplied this reply to a questionnaire sent to the candidates by A-CHAMP. I’m not going to go through all of the candidates’ responses to the questions, mainly because most of them consisted of only the most vacuous and vapid of soothing political pander-language that looks like it’s saying something but really isn’t. For example, this is Obama’s answer to one question:

Obama Change Not

Are you satisfied that the federal vaccine approval process is free of conflicts of interests, transparent and rigorous?

As President, I will conduct a thorough examination of all federal programs to ensure that they are effective and operating in the best interests of the American people. And I will ensure that sound and unbiased science, not ideology, guides decisions made in my administration.

That’s about as vacuous and controversy-free as a politician can make it, as is Hillary Clinton’s reply to the very same question:

I believe that we need independent, thorough, and comprehensive testing of all drugs, including vaccines, to make sure that they are safe and effective. I will ensure that the process of approving vaccines is based on science and research – not ideology or other motives. I will do everything I can to protect the health and well-being of American families.

Such boilerplate language doesn’t need a dose of Respectful Insolence™ because it says nothing of substance that is worth beating on for anything other than the fact that it says nothing of substance. However, this response by Barack Obama to the questionnaire does deserve a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence™:

Do you believe there is an autism epidemic in the United States?

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United Sates and, perhaps the world.. One in 150 children is diagnosed with ASD. These numbers can not be explained solely by increased awareness or changes to the diagnostic criteria. It is a health crisis and I will act accordingly. There are many Americans with special needs. They will have a partner in the federal government under my administration. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Ben Carson: No ‘Philosophical’ or ‘Religious’ Exemptions for Vaccinations

ben-carson_3

Dr. Ben Carson, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contenders, believes there should be no “philosophical” or “religious” exemptions for vaccinations.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society,” Carson told The Hill. “Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

Paul's amendment would ban laws that don’t apply equally to citizens and government. | AP Photo

The retired neurosurgeon’s comments came hours after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), both of whom are likely 2016 presidential candidates and potential rivals, stirred up controversy with their takes on vaccinations after the Disneyland measles outbreak.

Christie-Pile-On

On Monday, Christie called for a need for “balance” regarding vaccination before his office immediately clarified Christie’s comments, saying there is “no question” that kids should be vaccinated against a disease like measles.

Paul said he could not understand why his belief that most vaccinations should be “voluntary” is in any way “controversial.”

jenny_mccarthy-ANTI-VAX

“I guess being for freedom would be really unusual?” he said during a Monday CNBC appearance. “I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial.”

Paul said that “vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs” and he was a “great fan of the smallpox vaccine.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Devastating Impact of Vaccine Deniers


Commentary: ‘I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back’

CD06VIRUS

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

90Andrea Martin writes: As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be raising my child, I simply can’t tolerate it. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated measlesdiseases come roaring back.

“The bottom line is that I’m this child’s mother, and I know what’s best. End of story. Politicians, pharmaceutical companies—they don’t know the specific circumstances that made me decide to breathe new life into a viral infection that scientists and the nation at large celebrated stamping out roughly a century ago.”

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

“It’s simple: You don’t tell me how to raise my kids to avoid reviving a horrific illness that hasn’t been seen on our shores since our grandparents were children, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours.”

Say what you will about me, but I’ve read the information out there and weighed every option, so I am confident in my choice to revive a debilitating illness that was long ago declared dead and let it spread like wildfire from school to school, town to town, and state to state, until it reaches every corner of the country. Leaving such a momentous decision to someone you haven’t even met and who doesn’t care about your child personally—now that’s absurd!

University Of Iowa Begins Vaccinating Students For Mumps

Maybe I choose to bring back the mumps. Or maybe it’s diphtheria. Or maybe it’s some other potentially fatal disease that can easily pass among those too young or too medically unfit to be vaccinated themselves. But whichever highly communicable and formerly wiped-out disease that I opt to resurrect with a vengeance, it is a highly personal decision that only I and my family have the liberty to make. Read the rest of this entry »