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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gubernatorial Candidates Abet the Antivax Movement

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.

Republican gubernatorial candidates are abetting the anti-vax movement.

Max Reiss at NBC Connecticut:
In a grainy video recorded over the summer at a campaign event, Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, shared some of his thoughts on childhood immunization laws.
NBC Connecticut obtained the video of Stefanowski from a source working for Democratic campaigns in Connecticut. The video is two minutes long, and it is unknown what is said before or after the two-minute portion on immunization policy.
Stefanowski was asked by an audience member at the event, which appears to have been hosted by the Quiet Corner Tea Party, about the state mandating certain immunizations in order for students to attend public school.
The member of the audience, who is off camera and cannot be identified, asked, “Do you think the state should dictate [immunizations] or should local [Boards of Education] handle that?”
Stefanowski responded by saying, “I think it depends on the vaccination. We shouldn’t be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason.”
Reiss also reports:
More than three dozen doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are criticizing Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski after NBC Connecticut aired exclusive video of the candidate expressing skepticism of childhood vaccines and the state law requiring kids get immunized in order to attend school.

The group of health professionals includes pediatricians, registered nurses, and other specialists.
"As pediatricians, it is deeply concerning to us that a candidate for governor would spread flagrant disinformation about childhood vaccinations," The group wrote of Stefanowski’s comments.
They went on to describe Stefanowski’s position as, "downright dangerous," and "irresponsible."
Jay Michaelson at The Daily Beast:
In Oregon, Dr. Knute Buehler—yes, a physician—said that “parents should have the right to opt out” of vaccinations “for personal beliefs, for religious beliefs or even if they have strong alternative medical beliefs.”
Buehler described the opt-out system as beneficial. “I think that gives people option and choice and that’s the policy I would continue to pursue as Oregon’s governor,” he said.
And in Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, the favorite in the governor’s race, said in February that “I believe in choice. And we’ve got six children and we don’t vaccinate, we don’t do vaccinations on all of our children. So we definitely pick and choose which ones we’re gonna do. It’s gotta be up to the parents, we can never mandate that. I think there’s legislation right now that are trying to mandate that to go to public schools, it’s absolutely wrong. My wife was home schooled, I went to public schools, our kids go to Christian school, and that’s back to a parent’s choice.”.”