Today, President-elect Donald Trump met with a backer of the false idea that vaccines may be behind the rise in autism diagnoses. The result seems to be a worst-case scenario: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has accepted a position within the Trump administration, where he will chair a group evaluating vaccine safety and scientific integrity.
Trump has a history, on Twitter and in debates, of questioning the well-established science behind the US’ vaccination program. He has insinuated that vaccines cause autism and has suggested that the current vaccination schedule is overly aggressive. There is absolutely no evidence for either of those positions. Numerous studies have debunked any connection between either vaccination or any specific components of vaccines and diagnoses of autism. And the vaccine schedule is based on a combination of medical risks and exposure probabilities; changing it would alter infants’ risks.
It wasn’t clear whether Trump’s positions would lead to any policy decisions. But a worrying sign came when Trump met with Andrew Wakefield this fall. Wakefield helped establish fears of a vaccine-autism connection by publishing a paper, now retracted, that suggested a connection between the two. He has since had his medical license pulled due to misconduct during the preparation of that paper.
Source: Ars Technica – Technology