Search This Blog

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Offit on a Trump Autism-Vaccine Commission

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns.   In this campaign, a number of posts discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.  He also has a bad record on science and disability issues more generally.

Dr. Paul Offit writes at The Daily Beast:
At the National Press Club event, RFK Jr. informed the audience that President Trump, concerned about the rising rates of autism, is considering appointing him to head a commission to oversee vaccine safety and scientific integrity—commissions that already exist. RFK Jr. said that his commission would be made up of “Americans of the highest integrity” that might include corporate CEOs and “doctors on television.” In other words, people with no experience in the design, research, manufacture or testing of vaccines and no expertise in areas like immunology, virology, microbiology, statistics, biology, or epidemiology. Ignorance, despite RFK Jr.’s enthusiasm for his personal vaccine commission, is never an advantage.

A federal vaccine safety commission of the type described by RFK Jr. is unlikely to have teeth. Most of the important decisions about vaccines are made at the state level. Nonetheless, RFK Jr. would be given yet another platform for more fake news that could cause more parents to avoid vaccines and more children to suffer—a federal commission working against the health of children.