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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trump, Autism, and Vaccines

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism.  Trump has supported that theory.

At YouGov, Kathy Frankovic reports on a new survey showing that 31 percent of Trump voters -- compared with 18 percent of Clinton voters -- agree that "Vaccines have been shown to cause autism."  There is little difference, however, by party identification:  28 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents agree with the debunked notion.

At Mother Jones, Jeremy Schulman recounts "the worst anti-science BS of 2016:
Trump has long been a proponent of the discredited—and dangerous—theory that vaccines cause autism. "I'm not against vaccinations for your children, I'm against them in 1 massive dose," Trump tweeted in 2014. "Spread them out over a period of time & autism will drop!" He made the same argument at a 2015 GOP debate, causing a spike in Google searches for information about the supposed vaccine-autism connection. Since then, Trump hasn't said much more about the issue in public. But according to Science magazine, he met privately with a group of leading anti-vaccine activists at a fundraiser in August. The group reportedly included Andrew Wakefield, the lead researcher behind the seminal study (since retracted) of the vaccine-autism connection. Science reported that "Trump chatted with a group of donors that included four antivaccine activists for 45 minutes, according to accounts of the meeting, and promised to watch Vaxxed, an antivaccine documentary produced by Wakefield…Trump also expressed an interest in holding future meetings with the activists, according to participants."