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Donald Trump and the Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Theorists

Author: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health
January 11, 2017
ForeignPolicy.com

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Things are getting down and dirty now. And millions of lives are at stake. I cannot possibly state strongly enough how dangerous it is that President-elect Donald Trump has embraced the notion that vaccination is the cause of autism.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a celebrated vaccine skeptic, met with Trump on Jan. 10. Speaking to reporters outside Trump Tower in Manhattan after the meeting, Kennedy said he will chair a commission “on vaccine safety and scientific integrity” at Trump’s request, because, “we ought to be debating the science.”

(One news organization, the Guardian, later reported that the Trump team denies Kennedy will lead such a commission, but offered no other explanation for why the environmentalist was summoned to meet with the president-elect.)

Kennedy has long held the position that vaccines are dangerous, and that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine administered to all American children is a likely cause of autism. Like any good conspiracy theorist, Trump has long questioned the wisdom of vaccines. On Oct. 22, 2012, Trump tweeted that vaccines constitute “doctor-inflicted autism.”

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