The Trump Chronicles, Volume 21: His Latest Target? Vaccines

President Elect Trump famously avoids inconvenient truths by ignoring them. Previous targets have been climate change and conflicts of interest.

Most of the time he simply brushes them aside. But we read today that his anti-science, anti-truth campaign has taken a new turn: the crackpot belief that vaccines cause autism.

A little background: In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a gastroenterologist in England, published an article in The Lancet that alarmed thousands of parents (The Lancet is a well respected, peer review medical journal in England). Mr. Wakefield (Dr. Wakefield at the time) claimed that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine caused autism. His claim soon unraveled, the Lancet retracted the article, and Dr. Wakefield reverted back to Mr. Wakefield as he lost his license to practice medicine.

Unfortunately he unleashed, and continues to stoke, a firestorm of lies and victimization. People who should know better, people who should care more about truth than fear, have joined him, among them Jenny McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Yesterday we learned that Mr. Trump and Mr. Kennedy met. Mr. Kennedy came out of the meeting and stated that he had been asked to head a commission on vaccine safety and “scientific integrity.” Mr. Trump’s camp denied this claiming they were exploring the possibility of a commission.

I’ve said this before but Mr. Trump still doesn’t get that his words and actions matter. Parents of young children are bombarded by conflicting messages and I can’t imagine a false message that that resonates better than “this will harm your child.” The fact that Wakefield and his minions make money by lying to young parents places them beneath contempt.

Oh, and a shout out to one of the true heroes here, read everything you can from Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He’s written several books and he’s excellent. If you subscribe to the Wall Street Journal you can read an excellent article here.

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