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Vaccine Safety Commission
Vaccine skeptics, meaning those who question their safety, seemed to find a major ally for their cause in U.S. President Donald Trump. Although he hasn’t spoken out on the topic since his election, Trump has let his views on the subject known on numerous occasions in the past. The President is one of a small group of people who believe that vaccines are directly to autism and has repeatedly said so in interviews, on Twitter and even during the second Republican debate.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that a group of vaccine skeptics from Oregon and elsewhere around the country recently made a lobbying trip to Washington D.C. in an effort to convince President Trump to set up a “vaccine safety commission” to scientifically study whether or not vaccines are safe. While this may sound like a waste of time to the majority of people, who tend to believe the consensus scientific viewpoint that vaccines are entirely safe, this lobbying trip was greeted with cheers from the anti-vaccine community.
Several dozen vaccine skeptics ended up making the trip to Washington, where they also participated in a day of demonstrations in addition to spending a full day lobbying various members of Congress. The culmination of the event was a march from the White House to the National Press Club, which was topped off by a speech from noted vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
One of the most important points for many of these anti-vaccine demonstrators are the state mandates, which require all children to be immunized before being allowed to attend public school. The demonstrators feel that they should be able to opt out of this mandate due to their belief that giving their child a vaccine could put them in danger.
Currently, only 18 states allow parents to opt-out of the vaccine requirements based on philosophical reasons, whereas virtually all states allow parents to opt-out based on religious or health reasons.
Although not that many demonstrators braved the rain and poor weather, the publicity those that did show up got seems to show that they accomplished their mission, at least in part.
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RFK, Jr: The Vaccine Czar?
These recent demonstrations weren’t the first time that the idea of a vaccine safety commission has been brought up during the Trump presidency. In fact, if anything it seems that the idea may have actually been Trump’s in the first place.
In early January, shortly before the inauguration, then-President Elect Trump held a meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Although he is first-and-foremost a prominent environmental lawyer and activist, Kennedy also happens to be quite outspoken with his anti-vaccine message. Therefore, it’s not surprising that he and Trump took time to discuss their similarly held views during this meeting.
Speaking after the meeting, Kennedy said that the two men discussed the topic at great length and that, although both he and the President are very strongly pro-vaccine, they still agreed that the potential links between vaccines and autism was something that needed to be studied in much greater detail. Kennedy also claimed that he and Trump discussed the creation of a vaccine safety commission that would undertake this study and that the soon-to-be-President had asked him to chair the committee.
President Trump himself has yet to actually weigh in on the idea of the vaccine safety commission, although it seems to be something he’d be in favor of if his previous anti-vaccine statements are anything to go by. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether or not he could ever get Congress to agree to the commission, since the majority of members tend to follow the consensus scientific view that vaccines are safe.
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