Anti-vaxxers have a new champion
Will Donald Trump be America’s first anti-vaccination president? asked Brandy Zadrozny. Trump alarmed health officials and doctors last week when he met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “a hero of the anti-vaccine movement.” Kennedy is still pushing the fraudulent notion that vaccines cause autism, and has accused the government, doctors, and Big Pharma of conspiring to perpetrate “a massive fraud” about vaccine safety and of “poisoning children.” After meeting with Trump, Kennedy said the incoming president had asked him to chair a committee on “vaccine safety and scientific integrity.” Trump’s team later said the president was simply “exploring the possibility of forming a committee on autism.” Trump himself has frequently echoed anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, charging in 2012 that “monstrous combined vaccinations” lead to “doctor-inflicted autism.” If the president officially embraces this quack anti-scientific policy, he could trigger a wave of fear that will influence millions of individual parents not to vaccinate their kids. That, in turn, would lead to a big drop in vaccination rates, the loss of herd immunity, and a major resurgence of preventable and dangerous diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and the mumps. It’s a terrifying prospect.