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Trump appoints anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. to head commission on vaccine safety

President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly asked Robert Kennedy Jr. to chair a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. Kennedy has accepted the position, Time's Zeke Miller reports.

Kennedy is the author of Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak, which alleges that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal has led to a rise in autism in the United States. But "with the exception of the flu vaccine, [thimerosal] was removed from or reduced to trace levels in all vaccines given to children under 6-years-old 13 years ago," Time writes. "You face a greater mercury risk eating seafood and fish — and even that danger is low enough that the EPA recently recommended that pregnant and nursing women increase their intake of certain kinds of fish because the nutritional benefits outweigh the theoretical dangers."

Kennedy has also claimed "government health agencies colluded with Big Pharma to hide the risks of thimerosal from the public" in an anti-vaccination article run in Rolling Stone in 2005, Time reports. Assertions that thimerosal causes autism in children have been widely debunked including by the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Institute of Medicine.