Continuing with his pattern of dangerously unqualified nominations of a climate change denier to head the E.P.A., a racist as Attorney General, and an anti-public school lobbyist to lead the Education Department, among many others, Trump has asked a vaccine skeptic to lead a committee on “vaccine safety.”
Robert F. Kennedy, an environmental attorney with no medical qualifications, has been a long-time anti-vaxxer. The anti-vaccine movement originated in 1998 with a study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in The Lancet claiming to have found a link between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Despite the study being retracted and Dr. Wakefield losing his medical license, the anti-vaccination conspiracy theories have remained prevalent.
According The Washington Post, Kennedy told reporters, “…we ought to be reading the science, and we ought to be debating the science.” There is no science to debate, especially when comparing the risks of vaccine to the risks of exposure to measles, mumps, rubella, and other preventable diseases. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have been monitoring the safety of vaccines since the mid-1970s. According to the CDC website, the current supply of vaccines is the safest in American history.
The science of “vaccine safety” that the public needs to be aware of is that failing to vaccinate your children puts everyone else in the community, including those who are vaccinated, at risk. If only some members of a population are immunized, an outbreak can easily occur and become resistant to treatment.
The only vaccination available for ignorance is education. Scientists and medical professionals should be the voice of reason behind vaccination decisions. Not the latest goon in Trump’s board of horrors.