keptic 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.
“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.”
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 claimed 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 »
A task force is recommending the creation of sites in King County to provide medical supervision for people using illegal drugs like heroin, which would be the first in the U.S.
Vernal Coleman reports: The task force formed to help fight a heroin epidemic in the Seattle area has recommended the opening of public, supervised sites where addicts can use heroin.
The sites, supported by both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would be the first of their kind in the country.
“If it’s a strategy that saves lives … then regardless of the political discomfort I think it is something we have to move forward,” Constantine said during a Thursday news conference.
Murray said he would support establishing the sites if it can be done “in a way that reduces the negative impacts” on neighborhoods.
The recommendations released Thursday call for a pilot program to establish two “community health-engagement locations” in targeted areas where users can inject heroin under medical supervision as an alternative to public restrooms, alleys and homeless encampments like The Jungle.
The committee called for putting one site in Seattle, and another outside of the city in an area where a high number of heroin overdoses have been recorded.
“One of the driving ideas behind this is creating a safe space where we can get people the medical, prevention and treatment services already provided elsewhere,” said Brad Finegood, committee co-chairman and assistant director of the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division. Read the rest of this entry »