President-elect Donald Trump has undoubtedly ruffled feathers in staffing his administration, but the choice of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. — known for his skepticism on the safety of vaccines — to chair a commission tasked with studying the efficacy of and issues concerning vaccinations, will undoubtedly raise eyebrows from both sides of the issue.
Kennedy, according to USA Today, will chair the presidential commission “to make sure we have scientific integrity in the vaccine process for efficacy and safety effects,” the environmental activist and politician told reporters after meeting with Trump on Tuesday.
Kennedy noted the incoming president requested the meeting, as he “has some doubts about the current vaccine policies and he has questions about it. 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.”
While advocates of the heavy vaccination schedule might find the choice of Kennedy — who has been castigated as an anti-vaxxer — quite startling, he insisted Trump remains “very pro-vaccine, as am I,” and only seeks to ensure “they’re as safe as they can possibly be.”
Corporate media hastily attacked the appointment of a skeptic to such an important commission; however, Kennedy insisted in the press conference public health and safety remains the topic of concern.
“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies and he has questions about it,” Kennedy said, as reported by NBC News. “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.”
Vaccination has frequently been a topic of bitter public dispute over the last few years, as parents of autistic children have pegged the ingredient thimerosal — which, in part, contains notoriously toxic mercury — as the culprit for the affliction.
President-elect Trump has, himself, spoken out about blindly supporting a medical practice without thorough and long-term investigation, as he stated in 2015 during a Republican primary debate,
“I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful 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. … [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
Countless anecdotal cases of the onset of autism coincidentally following a certain round of vaccinations have left a growing population of parents excoriating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for failing to diligently investigate effects of contents of certain vaccines.
For its part, the CDC scoffs at such comparisons and has painted the anti-vaxx movement — and anyone daring to question vaccination — under the broad brush of hysterics.
“Research does not show any link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder,” the CDC’s website advises — and the conglomerate agency has ostensibly ‘debunked’ the autism link numerous times.
A vocal movement of parents whose children’s autism abruptly took hold after immunization, however, find grave fault with the CDC’s failure to at least address their concerns.
Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization for individuals with autism, which aligns with the CDC, told NBC News in a statement, “Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.”
Kennedy stated about vaccines at a documentary screening on the subject in 2015,“They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
Coming under intense backlash for the capricious use of that term, Kennedy later apologized, stating,
“I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families.”
Indeed, with the growing pandemic of autism — and the increased number of immunizations deemed necessary through childhood — it would seem the appointment of someone who finds safety and study relevant would be crucial to the interest of public health.
Kennedy is not, as the mainstream portrays, an unabashed anti-vaxxer — rather, he would like further study to prove or disprove either side in the issue.
After all, as the new chair of the presidential commission to study vaccines, Kennedy said in 2015, “They can put anything they want in that vaccine and they have no accountability for it.”
Perhaps more imperative than sounding alarms over skepticism, it would behoove the public to give Kennedy’s commission a chance to either prove vaccinations safe and viable — or deleterious to the children they’re supposed to immunize from disease.