The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is Gaining Traction, Largely Thanks To Trump And His Supporters

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It’s been a few weeks since President Trump met with vaccine skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. and offered to team up in order to create a commission on vaccine safety. Trump is not part of the traditional anti-vaccine movement and Kennedy was adamant that he and the president were both pro-vaccine following their January meeting according to The Washington Post:

“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies, and he has questions about it,” Kennedy said. “His opinion doesn’t matter, but the science does matter, and we ought to be reading the science, and we ought to be debating the science.

“And that everybody ought to be able to be assured that the vaccines that we have — he’s very pro-vaccine, as am I — but they’re as safe as they possibly can be,” he added.

But despite these statements and past claims by Trump that he is a “slow vaxxer” who believes children are given too many vaccines at an early age, many are using the new president to bolster their anti-vaccine agendas. According to The Washington Post, the president has connections to some with deep ties to the anti-vaccine push we’ve seen over the past twenty years and his support of Kennedy and his support of now disproven vaccine theories are adding fuel to their movement in places like Texas where it is called one of the “most organized and politically active”:

A leading conspiracy theorist is Andrew Wakefield, author of the 1998 study that needlessly triggered the first fears. (The medical journal BMJ, in a 2011 review of the debacle, described the paper as “fatally flawed both scientifically and ethically.”) Wakefield’s Twitter handle identifies him as a doctor, but his medical license has been revoked. The British native now lives in Austin, where he is active in the state and national anti-vaccine movement.

Trump has met with Wakefield, who attended an inaugural ball and told supporters afterward that he had received “tremendous support” for his efforts and hoped to have more meetings with the president…

In a brief phone interview, Wakefield said he had not spoken to Trump since last summer. He declined to say how he was invited to an inaugural ball. “Better to say nothing at this stage,” he said. Wakefield said he was heading to Europe to promote “Vaxxed,” the movie he directed and co-wrote in which he defends the debunked link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. Texans for Vaccine Choice has sponsored showings of the film and promotes it on its Facebook page.

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