One of the more bewildering moments during the Republican primaries last year was when Donald Trump asserted that he had seen firsthand “proof” that vaccines cause autism. Trump has been tweeting about vaccines causing autism since at least 2012, but his anti-vax position was largely ignored, because he wasn’t the president-elect of the United States in 2012. Now, however, he is. This week his transition team said he was looking at creating a commission on vaccine safety and autism, and yesterday Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Trump had asked him to lead the committee.
According to the BBC, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a noted anti-vaxxer who campaigns hard to spread the idea that the vaccine preservative Thimerosol causes autism in children. He’s held screenings of anti-vax documentary “Trace Amounts” for lawmakers, and he is the author of “Thimerosol: Let the Science Speak. The evidence supporting the immediate removal of merucry–a known neurotoxin–from vaccines.”
Bloomberg reports that Kennedy called the use of vaccines “a holocaust,” and that he described children injured by vaccines, writing: “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of 103, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone.”
Bloomberg also reports that Kennedy has accused the CDC of intentionally covering up a “clear link between the dramatic increases in mercury-laced child vaccinations beginning in 1989 and the epidemic of autism.”
The idea that there is a link between vaccines and autism has been discredited time and time again, sometimes by anti-vaxxers’ own studies. Now it looks like the anti-vax movement will be getting an unprecedented amount of legitimacy from the most powerful people in the world, and we could be getting ready for a bigger government push against vaccines from officials who will say, “I’m totally pro-vaccine. I love vaccines.” while actively working against vaccines and science. This is great, because what we really need right now is a measles epidemic.