From Guardian UK:
Donald Trump appears to have abandoned plans to investigate the spurious link between childhood immunisations and autism, a move welcomed by experts but condemned by Robert F Kennedy Jr, a vaccine sceptic.
The son of former US attorney general Bobby Kennedy met Trump in New York during the presidential transition in January last year and announced that he had been asked to chair a commission to review vaccine safety.
Scientists warned that it would give credence to debunked theories, while a Trump spokeswoman denied any decision had been made.
“I would say there’s zero progress,” Kennedy told the Guardian last week. “We were told President Trump wanted to meet directly with us. Not only did nothing happen, they’ve cut off all communication with people who care about this issue. The administration has decided to go in another direction.”
Kennedy, 64, has had no contact with the White House for at least six months and made no secret of his dismay. “I’ve seen a tremendous deflation among a community of parents and children’s health advocates across the country who believed the promises that President Trump made to the campaign, who put tremendous faith in him and now are feeling enormous betrayal and disappointment.”
Childhood vaccines have been linked to autism by activists despite multiple scientific studies around the world proving that incorrect. Trump was willing to fan the flames. In 2012 he tweeted: “Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism.” During a 2015 Republican primary debate, he claimed that a child of some of his employees of his had become autistic after getting vaccinated.
Kennedy describes himself as “pro-vaccine” but has campaigned against the use of thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines made from mercury, and launched a group called the World Mercury Project, backed by anti-vaxxers. He argues that parents should choose whether their children are vaccinated.
In 2005 Kennedy wrote an article for Rolling Stone magazine and Salon claiming that the government was conspiring to cover up the connections between autism and thimerosal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence of harm caused by thimerosal, which has not been used in vaccines for children since 2001 but is still used in some flu vaccines. Rolling Stone and Salon later retracted the article.
Kennedy blamed the president’s shift on high-level “corruption” tying the administration to the pharmaceutical industry, which he claims has historically blocked research into vaccine safety to protect its own interests.
“Much of what happens in this administration is obscure so there hasn’t been transparency,” he said. Read more here.