Speed Reads

brutal yet true

RFK Jr.'s family dismantles his 'tragically wrong' anti-vaccine stance

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a long track record of environmental activism — and of spreading misinformation about vaccines.

Kennedy has spent his life cleaning up and fighting water pollution, and that's something his niece and two of his siblings are very proud of. Yet when it comes to his incorrect belief that vaccines lead to autism, he is "tragically wrong," Joseph Kennedy II, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and Maeve Kennedy McKean write in a new Politico op-ed.

The three Kennedys start their op-ed with some astonishing facts: That we're seeing measles reemerge in 22 states, that "2019 will likely see the most recorded cases of measles in decades," and that "most cases of preventable diseases occur among unvaccinated children." "These tragic numbers are caused by the growing fear and mistrust of vaccines — amplified by internet doomsayers," the Kennedys continue, and declare that RFK Jr. "is part of this campaign." They even go on to say "on this issue, Bobby is an outlier in the Kennedy family," naming both former President John F. Kennedy and the senior Robert F. Kennedy as vaccine supporters.

In the op-ed, the Kennedys do concede that it's "understandable" to question vaccines, but unequivocally declare they "far outweigh any potential side effects." After all, "immunizations prevent some 2 million to 3 million deaths a year," and could save 1.5 million more "with broader vaccine coverage," they write, citing the World Health Organization.

Joe Kennedy was once a congressmember from Massachusetts, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. Both are Kennedy's siblings. Maeve Kennedy McKean is Kennedy's niece and is the executive director of Georgetown University's Global Health Initiatives. Read their whole op-ed at Politico.