Isabelle Han at The Dartmouth:
In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread. And among those diseases could be COVID-19.
Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong. A leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.
On April 26, the Concerned Alumni of Dartmouth College hosted a sold-out roundtable discussion titled “Important Conversations Never Had — College COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: Scientific, Legal and Ethical Considerations” at the Hanover Inn, followed by a speech from lawyer and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. A Q&A session had originally been scheduled to take place after the panel, but the segment was canceled after Kennedy announced his last-minute appearance at the event, according to Michael Koss, a member of Concerned Alumni of Dartmouth College.
Kennedy’s speech, which replaced the advertised Q&A, lasted for approximately 30 minutes and focused on the claim that vaccines cause autism in children.
“We have solid proof that they are causing more harm than [good]… that they are killing our children,” Kennedy said. “And yet a thousand colleges in this country still have these [COVID-19 vaccine] mandates.”
Kennedy added that he has met multiple women with children who have intellectual disabilities, which they believe “were caused by vaccines.” He pointed to the statistic that the rate of autism in children has increased as vaccination numbers have also increased.
“In my generation, [the rate of autism] is still one in 10,000,” Kennedy said. “In my kids’ generation, one in 34 kids have the diagnosis.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, while the rate of autism among children has risen since initial estimates in the 1960s, the diagnostic criteria used to classify the disorder has also expanded. The claim that vaccines cause autism has also been disproven, according to the CDC.
Kennedy added that he is not “anti-vaccine” but skeptical because there is no “placebo-controlled” study that proves that vaccines are safe. However, all vaccines approved for use in the United States are subject to placebo testing, according to the Food and Drug Administration.