January 12, 2017

"President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies, and he has questions about it. 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."

Said Robert F. Kennedy Jr. , whom Trump has asked [or may ask?] to chair a new commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. I'm reading about this in The Washington Post, which calls it a "stunning move," because Kennedy has been "a proponent of a widely discredited theory that vaccines cause autism."
“That’s very frightening; it’s difficult to imagine anyone less qualified to serve on a commission for vaccine science,” said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit that works to control, treat and eliminate vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases.

“The science is clear: Massive evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism, and as both a scientist who develops vaccines for poverty-related neglected diseases and the father of an adult daughter with autism, there’s not even any plausibility for a link,” Hotez continued. “Autism is a genetic condition.”...

[Kennedy] has argued that mercury-based additives in vaccines explain the link to autism. And he has alleged that government scientists, journalists and pharmaceutical companies have colluded to hide the truth from the public.

“They get the shot. That night they have a fever of 103. They go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said at the premiere of an anti-vaccination film screening in California in 2015. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
ADDED: I assumed that RFK Jr.'s saying Trump asked him to chair a new commission meant that he was in fact asked to chair a commission, but maybe he's lying or mistaken. Here's the NY Post: "We’re relieved that Team Trump has denied Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s claim that the president-elect is naming him to chair a commission on 'vaccination safety and scientific integrity.' That would’ve been putting a madman in charge of the asylum."

121 comments:

Henry said...

Make the asshole ambassador to Venezuela. That's what I would do.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

This is the first bad official decision I've seen from Trump, and he deserves all the criticism he gets on it.

Original Mike said...

Yikes.

rehajm said...

he’s very pro-vaccine

Also a germaphobe.

PatHMV said...

Is this actually true? The article says that RFK made the claim that Trump had asked him to serve in this capacity, but that the Trump Transition team denied that any decision had actually been made.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...


Robert's body count is way past Ted's.

mpeirce said...

Fake news...

http://nypost.com/2017/01/10/rfk-jr-s-deadly-anti-vaccine-gospel/

n.n said...

I wonder if proponents of vaccines (and other drugs) would consider treating other potential risks, including non-medical, perhaps ecological, perhaps social, with the same uncritical, liberal deference.

Vaccines are part of a risk management protocol. They are not magical elixirs. They do have side-effects, ranging from mild to debilitating to mortal. Each individual has rights and responsibilities, and there should be full disclosure and accountability to each individual.

FullMoon said...

Another master stroke? Appoint a panel of twelve pro vaccine scientists, headed by anti vaxxer liberal heroin addict Kennedy. Result gonna be, 12 to 1,vaccines are safe, science settled.

Maybe a panel would convince Kennedy he is wrong.

Being a poorly educated climate denier, I rolled my eyes at "the science is settled". Then, I had to laugh at myself because I believe the science is settled regarding vaccines. Just as the climate bedwetters believe it is settled regarding doom and gloom and the end of life on earth because of man made climate change.

I suppose mercury in vaccines is not the same as the mercury we warned against in out tunafish?

Anyway, having been around a couple of autistic kids, if I was a new parent, I might be concerned.



Ignorance is Bliss said...

PatHMV said...

Is this actually true? The article says that RFK made the claim that Trump had asked him to serve in this capacity, but that the Trump Transition team denied that any decision had actually been made.

It may be that RFK jr. was not offered the position, but why was he even talked to about the subject? Why is there a Presidential Commission on vaccine safety?

Trump deserves criticism for providing any sort of platform for this nonsense.

James Pawlak said...

The atom cannot be split, blood flows in tide-like ebbs through the body, there are only four elements, it is not necessary and is improper for physicians and others to wash their hands between examinations of pregnant women, the universe rotates around the Earth and other settled, by majority vote, scientific truths.

AprilApple said...

"His opinion doesn't matter."

RFK - your opinion doesn't matter, either.

Sydney said...

I actually think it isn't such a bad idea to have a prominent anti-vaxxer on the committee, for reasons already mentioned by previous commenters. Also, the medical community gave up some of its credibility years ago when it said that thimerosol, the preservative used in vaccines, doesn't cause mercury poisoning, but we're going to recommend it be taken out of vaccines anyway. It sent mixed signals to the public and the one that dominated was that they took it out of vaccines so there must have really been something wrong with it.

Michael K said...

"This is the first bad official decision I've seen from Trump, and he deserves all the criticism he gets on it."

If true, I agree.

There was a piece on TV about the epidemic of meningitis from contaminated epidural steroid injections.

I don't know but suspect the hysteria about vaccines led to removal of the thimerosal antiseptic from injectables. This made a fungal contamination more possible. I can't find any references about it, though.

rhhardin said...

Also you can't get mercury out of the cracks in hardwood floors after you've played with it.

PatHMV said...

FullMoon, there is a difference between the mercury in vaccines and the mercury in tunafish. Thimerosal, the mercury compound used as a preservative in some vaccines, contains a form of mercury called ethylmercury. According to the CDC, ethylmercury is processed out of the body much faster (and those poses less risk of damaging long-term accumulation) than methylmerucry, which is the form of mercury found in tuna and other types of fish. Read more here.

rhhardin said...

I forget what it was about, but something about the underfloor area needed attention and a friend called the building people to take care of it.

"We only deal with emergencies and mercury spills, and things like that."

"How big a spill do you need?"

"We'll be right up."

Fernandinande said...

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

mockturtle said...

This is an interesting statement "Massive evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism". It brings to memory a passage in Sartre's Nausea where he looked into the restaurant saw that Jacques wasn't there and he wrestles with the evidence--or lack thereof--that he was actually seeing, or not seeing, etc, to show Jacques' not being there.

OK, it's been a VERY long time [I was in high school] when I read this, in French, but that's the gist of it, IIRC.

rhhardin said...

As for appointments, putting the dissident voice in charge isn't a bad idea.

lgv said...


Blogger Ignorance is Bliss said...
This is the first bad official decision I've seen from Trump, and he deserves all the criticism he gets on it.


Just what I was going to write. On a 1 to 10 scale, his appointments have been 7-10. This one is a -1. Children are dead and deformed because of people like Kennedy. Someone should ask his physician friends, the HHS and Hud Secretary nominees how they feel about it.

Will he a appoint someone who believes we didn't land on the moon to watch over NASA?

Bill said...

Will we ever be rid of this tiresome family?

rhhardin said...

There's a vaccine injury compensation program because vaccines also cost lives, just a lot fewer than they save.

So policywise vaccines are a benefit, but nobody would make them with jury awards against them for the lives lost.

So to get people to make them, they pay off victims outside the tort system entirely.

Original Mike said...

"Also, the medical community gave up some of its credibility years ago when it said that thimerosol, the preservative used in vaccines, doesn't cause mercury poisoning, but we're going to recommend it be taken out of vaccines anyway. It sent mixed signals to the public ..."

Yes, this behavior is a bad idea. The same kind of dynamic is playing out in fights over food labeling. Acquiescence to demands for labels when a substance/process is known to be safe is bad public policy.

Henry said...

OK, it's been a VERY long time [I was in high school] when I read this, in French, but that's the gist of it, IIRC.

And yet Jaques still wasn't there!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Even if you wish to question the scientific consensus on this, what are the chances of this Presidential Commission changing that consensus, or public opinion?

If you are really concerned, come at it from the other end. Advocate more basic research on autism and its causes. If is is caused by vaccines, then you would find a causal mechanism, which might then let you develop a vaccine that didn't trigger the cause.

Brando said...

Lovely, anti-vaxxer nuts now in the mainstream. But unlike a lot of nuts these ones can cause a lot of horrible deaths with their nonsense.

And I don't see the political benefit to be gained here, so this must mean Trump really thinks a Kennedy dumbass pushing anti-vax nonsense is the right man for this job.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rhhardin said...

Also you can't get mercury out of the cracks in hardwood floors after you've played with it.

Have you tried using a straw?

eric said...

My oldest son is autistic.

The thing is, we only found out last month. He is 14, turns 15 this month.

Before that, we just thought he was different. He doesn't like to be touched. He is ADHD. He has some odd ticks. But, he is mostly verbal, and he doesn't act or seem like the lower functioning autistic children we have seen. He was diagnosed as high functioning autistic.


Why do I write this?

Well, I know, as a home school parent, several anti-vaccination families. Both Left and Right. And they point to the explosion in children with autism as evidence that vaccines must cause it.

But, has anyone considered that maybe we just diagnose it more? 20-30 years ago my son would be seen as weird. Frustrating. An odd duck. But he would probably not be called autistic.

So maybe we just recognize it more?

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Most of us know absolutely nothing about vaccination but we are filled to overflowing with certitude. Why? And why in the world would it be disqualifying to have questions about vaccination? Isn't openness to questions a fundamental quality of scientific pursuit? This is just one of those wedge issues that are used to control people. I'm not too interested in playing that game.

Bay Area Guy said...

I'm not "against" vaccines, but I'm not militantly for them either. I am passively pro-vaccine. I got the shots as a kid (without protest or controversy), and get the flu or cold once a year, get sick for a day or 2, and then get over it.

Here's my inexpert view of the matter:

1. Peanuts are a healthy source of protein -- yet a small minority of kids have bad allergic reaction to Peanuts. Nobody, however, thinks we should ban Peanuts.

Why isn't this the same for vaccines -- mostly a good thing, with a few awful exceptions that shouldn't be ignored?

Finally, if you look at public health data, it seems to me that the biggest driver of our wonderful increase in US life expectancy in the 20th Century was mostly due to:(a) Excellent sanitation services, (b) excellent water supply, (c) excellent nutrition, and (d) and some excellent medical advances in diagnosis and treatment.

This shouldn't be as controversial a topic as it is.

As for autism, it seems like they've greatly expanded the definition to increase a lot more cases (almost all boys). But, without knowing the cause, I am sympathetic to the parents of these autistic kids and how they try to cope with it.



amr said...

inb4 Scott Adams...
Master Persuader Frame:
Trump is "Leading" anti-vaxxers by showing them he shares their concerns.

John Tuffnell said...

There is a difference between reality and what RFKJr says happened. I will believe RFK is the chairman after it happens.

Vaccines present a good policy debate. It's essentially a herd mentality to protect the community from the spread of disease. If enough people get vaccinated and take the small risk of harm, all benefit. But some people will freeload on that because they cannot get vaccinated (compromised immune systems for example) and others will do it by choice. If enough of the herd is not protected then an outbreak can occur.

Wisconsin has mandatory vaccinations for public school kids but the exception is a mile wide: "The immunization requirement is waived if the student, if an adult, or the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian submits a written statement to the school, child care center, or nursery school objecting to the immunization for reasons of health, religion, or personal conviction."

aritai said...

Anyone seen Mr. T. do anything without a purpose lately?

If you don’t have vaccines, what do you do when something deadly occurs that you don’t know how to treat? You close the borders and quarantine. Which works in both directions. Protects us and other countries. Oh no! can’t close the borders better we all die in the interest of Political Correctness unless we can close the borders and road systems down In a days and hopefully less than a month (oops. I forgot we don’t have borders). Ebola times a million as Crichton feared. Who knows maybe some part of what’s worthwhile left in the US or Russian intelligence has thought about this and figured out what can be cooked up in a bathtub or just in error in a college or high school laboratory. Whoda thunk 3D printers would be Christmas gifts? Next up, print your own recreational drugs and otherwise life-saving bacteria.. Good news is that if it’s any good it will probably kill the as well. But there are still folks like Jim jones and the Aum. And since we don’t allow testing on the population except if you’re the FDA promoting a food pyramid that guarantees half the population gets diabetes (see the big fat surprise as to why some folks can process carbs to fat without harm and others can’t). We have to practice on the populace like we did in the cold war eith with our “early warning system” and “the bomb” survival supplies, and hardened storm shelters, that every country home had. The no vaxers will give us a test case when something large occurs when say 10% are dying and the people demand action. HIPPA be d@mned. In addition since autism has reached epidemic numbers. We need more data. To see if through big-data analysis what might be aa root environmental cause of Autism. I suspect (guess) that than the loss of the nuclear family and the rise of day care in lieu of love and assertive discipline, back to teaching parents who lack examples from their youth punt to psychiatrists perhaps because their insurance covers, and they feel so helpless. Amazing that someone who is so anti-science would ask why is it that something didn’t exist 50 years ago is now common? Why is warming so insignificant? Especially because this psychiatric care bankrupting health care and the education system, a measured fact. Given all this, abusing the anti vaxers as a test case for epidemics, especially given the demonstrated incompetence of the U.S. CDC and U.N. WHO in the face of Ebola is well worth doing. At far less cost than preparing for “the day after.” Amazing what that dastardly Health and Defense Czars can “cook up ” and hide behind the curtain.

Brando said...

"So maybe we just recognize it more?"

I think there's something to it--when looking at trends we should consider what might have changed in how we measure things. Just looking at the diagnosed cases you'd think ADHD skyrocketed in recent years, when it could just mean that previously we just assumed a kid was a typically easily distracted kid (and of course we could be overdiagnosing in some cases, where a kid is just normally jumpy or distracted, and drugs might not be such a good idea).

Sorry to hear about your son. Thinking back I wonder if my brother might have been diagnosed with autism back in the day as he had some of those symptoms (though he did well for himself in the long run despite trouble as a kid).

Big Mike said...

First of all the science is not settled. The only thing we know for certain at this point is that taking the vaccines is vastly safer than not taking the vaccines. Back in the day kids died slowly and in great pain from some of those childhood diseases that we vaccinate against. I am inclined to believe that the link between vaccination and autism is coincidental, not causal -- we vaccinate children at certain times relative to their date of birth and autism begins to express itself at certain, slightly later, times relative to date of birth. What would be interesting -- and damaging to the anti-vaxxers -- would be cases where the child was not vaccinated but developed autism anyway. I have not seen any such cases but (1) I'm not looking very hard, (2) autism and unvaccinated children are still rare events, and (3) the press wouldn't be likely to publish such cases because of their inherent bias.

But does that mean the vaccines are perfectly safe? That's what needs another look. I suspect that the vaccine companies can and should do better.

Meanwhile an article in "Wired" thought that the rise of autism was because modern society pays highly numerate individuals very well, and many of these (e.g., Bill Gates) are high-functioning Aspergers people, as demonstrated by their poor social skills. Once upon a time their social skills made them unattractive as marriage partners, but Silicon Valley salaries of a quarter million and up make them much more attractive to women. (Sorry feminists, but you know it's true.)

Bob Boyd said...

Is it just me or are there way more autistic dogs out there now that were vaccinating them for numerous diseases?
Like there was this Shepherd/Pomeranian cross at the dog park the other day that couldn't even sit and stay, but it could tap out pi with it's front paw to like 17 decimal places. Sad.

Gahrie said...

My thought is this...what if he does appoint Kennedy to this position, and they come up with a recommendation in favor of immunization anyway...wouldn't that be a good way to shut up the anti-vaxxers for good?

Rocketeer said...

I don't know but suspect the hysteria about vaccines led to removal of the thimerosal antiseptic from injectables.

IANAD, but my understanding is that thimerosal was removed from vaccines because it was determined that the risk of side effects because of the rate thimerosal allergies in the population was deemed greater than the potentials for fungal contaminations.

Lyle Smith said...

This is interesting... I suspect Trump is highlighting the fact that Democrats cannot be trusted on matters of science.

MikeR said...

Hopefully think this is just Trump expressing diversity before he actually decides: Like meeting with Al Gore.
I mean, I didn't really support Trump, but I figured that he'd be like 50/50 and Clinton would be 0 in terms of things I want to happen. But since then he's done extremely well, probably as well or better than Rubio would have.
I'd hate to go back to the hope for 50/50 stuff.

MaxedOutMama said...

The interesting thing is that the vaccine opposition is a Dem-demographic problem. You find this in the techie and upper-class burbs all over the country. The working class doesn't have an issue with vaccines. So now we have an outcry against the president for being anti-science for appointing an upper-crust Dem who is very anti-vaccine to head a commission.

But what conclusion can the commission come to over vaccines? It is either going to be a farce or it is going to conclude that vaccines are generally safe and well-tolerated, although not working as well in many cases as they used to do (recent studies of mumps, measles and whooping cough outbreaks show that vaccination is not protecting against getting the disease).

There is one thing about administering vaccines in big lots - the net immune response against each component may be diminished. Or perhaps we need to rework our vaccines to cover slightly different strains.

But finally, if a commission headed by Kennedy issues the final report, it may go a long way toward convincing the new breed of vaccine-averse upper class that the science is genuine.

cubanbob said...

Vaccines are a form of insurance. How many people cancel their homeowners policy because their house didn't burn down last night or never bought a policy since the likelihood of their home burning down is low? As for the anti-vaccine people, as the old expression goes "if fifty million Frenchmen believe a foolish thing, its still a foolish thing". Thank God for vaccines. Who wants a world with smallpox and polio among other diseases?

Fred Drinkwater said...

IiB asks: Why is there a Presidential Commission on vaccine safety?
There are "Presidential Commissions" on all kinds of things. My father once participated on one called the "Presidential Commission on Aircraft Crew Complement", which was about FAA rules for how many pilots should be mandated for various routes (e.g. over water / land, duration, aircraft type, etc.). In other words, refereeing a pissing match between the pilots union and the airlines.
(He said he was proud that they produced the shortest report in the history of PCs, something like 30 pages.)

Drago said...

Gahrie: "My thought is this...what if he does appoint Kennedy to this position, and they come up with a recommendation in favor of immunization anyway...wouldn't that be a good way to shut up the anti-vaxxers for good?"

My thought exactly.

Further, floating the lefty royal Kennedy name to head up a Trump commission might be an attempt to show a "reach across the aisle" attitude.

An Ivanka recommendation? We'll never know and in the end it won't matter.

sparrow said...

The vaccine autism link was based on a false small scale clinical report in the highly regarded journal Lancet. It was taken up as a plausible hypothesis by others who tried and failed to replicate the findings in much larger studies. Ultimately the fraud was uncovered and the Dr who started it lost his license, but not before the fear spread very broadly. As a result some parents have denied vaccines to children and serious preventable diseases have become resurgent. This is a danger to all of us because vaccines are most effective if the entire "herd" is fully vaccinated. Vaccines can be overwhelmed in some cases if only a fraction of the population is treated. This is especially serious for those that have compromised immune systems and may not be able to have a vaccine (ie the elderly, chemo patients, HIV patients, those on immune suppresing drugs, etc.) Theres a real death toll for this kind of lie.

Brando said...

Looks like he might have been just considering RFK Jr, and didn't officially pick him yet. Hopefully he doesn't pick him.

We keep thinking we're rid of the Kennedys but like a bad coin they keep turning up. Apparently they have a ginger one in Congress now.

Michael K said...

Advocate more basic research on autism and its causes.

This is actually an exciting area right now. One of my students was interested in pediatric neurology and I strongly encouraged her to get interested in autism. I gave her some articles, like this one, and this one and even more.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are male-biased and characterized by deficits in social behavior and social communication, excessive anxiety or hyperreactivity to stressful experiences, and a tendency toward repetitiveness. The purpose of this review is to consider evidence for a role for two sexually dimorphic neuropeptides, oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (VP), in these features of ASD. Both VP and OT play a role in normal development. VP is androgen-dependent and of particular importance to male behavior. Excess VP or disruptions in the VP system could contribute to the male vulnerability to ASD. Alternatively, protective processes mediated via OT or the OT receptor might help to explain the relatively rare occurrence of ASD in females.

There is now a huge literature on this. There are two species of prairie voles. One is monogamous and both parents bond with the pups. The other species is asocial and solitary.

Differences in small molecule hormones, like Oxytocin, have been found between the two.

There might even be a Mercury connection.

We examined the effects of chronic metals ingestion on social behavior in the normally highly social prairie vole to test the hypothesis that metals may interact with central dopamine systems to produce the social withdrawal characteristic of autism. Relative to water-treated controls, <10 weeks of chronic ingestion of either Hg++ or Cd++ via drinking water significantly reduced social contact by male voles when they were given a choice between isolation or contact with an unfamiliar same-sex conspecific. The effects of metals ingestion were specific to males: no effects of metals exposure were seen in females.


Hmmmm

Kate said...

This is genius.

People who don't believe that vaccines are safe will trust no one from the medical community. RFK, if he can be convinced, is the only spokesman who stands a chance with this group.

If you don't trust vaccines, and the medical community brow beats you for your hesitancy, and the cognoscenti tell you you're stupid and just shut up and do it . . . well, #thisishowwegottrump.

rcocean said...

RFK was arrested for Marijuana use as a youngster, got kicked out of Prep School, was convicted for Heroin possession at 29, has been married 3 times and had a wife commit suicide.

He's following the grand Kennedy tradition.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Kennedy=false always..you can't go wrong..

mockturtle said...

OK, it's been a VERY long time [I was in high school] when I read this, in French, but that's the gist of it, IIRC.

Henry retorts: And yet Jaques still wasn't there!

I'm not sure if Jacques ever did show up! ;-)

Jason said...

If I appoint 12 people to a commission, knowing that they all think a certain way, then when they come back with the result I expect them to come back with, that doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. I have no more degree of certainty in the accuracy of its findings than I had before, because there's the chance all twelve appointees and I share the same blind spot.

If I appoint 11 people to the commission and one known dissenter, an 11-1 finding also doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know. But that 1 dissenter tells me that the other 11 must have at least had someone confront them with what someone thinks is at least one of their blind spots.

But any reading OTHER than a 11 to 1 tells me quite a bit.

It also tells me there's some voice in there insisting that we hedge our bets, and take steps to mitigate risk.

I dislike echo chambers. They lead to bad decision-making.

That said, RFK's a happy-face fascist idiot who called for jailing climate change deniers. Since he can't deal with a dissenting view himself, to hell with him. Get someone else.

Chuck said...

Man, this one is going to stretch the bounds of Trumpism.

Everything about it is messed up. Terrible, botched communications. (Is there really a commission? We already have an important National Advisory Committee on Immunization, and an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices within CDC.) Is RFKJr really part of it, or not? Is it just another weird Trump pr stunt? Or is it serious?

Trump has a wretched record of false statements and misstatements on vaccines. Including his debunked and unaccepted "compromise" solution of vaccinations spread out over more time.

It's also a personal distraction for Trump. Because the issue of whether Barron Trump is or is not austistic is bound to come up; fair or not. Donald has hired, as Melania's attorney, the legal assassin that Peter Thiel hired to take down Gawker, and that guy has gone after nameless YouTube posters as well as autistic-child parent Rosie O'Donnell in an apparent scorched-earth campaign of litigation threats, any time anyone posts video evidence that they think shows that Barron has hallmark symptoms of autism.

It's also harmful to the Republican brand, to have as president a putative Republican who might actually give some tiny bit of substance to the mostly risible notion that Republicans are an anti-science group.

Bad, in every conceivable way apart from the notion that Donald J. Trump might have some deep personal wound -- an itch that even his wealth and power can't scratch -- that he might be able to cure with the power of federal research money and the federal government.

Brando said...

"RFK was arrested for Marijuana use as a youngster, got kicked out of Prep School, was convicted for Heroin possession at 29, has been married 3 times and had a wife commit suicide."

The wife suicide thing is sad, but otherwise he sounds like the typical Kennedy stock. Generations of never working for a living has corrupted them into the degenerates they are.

I can't imagine what the next Kennedy generation will be like.

mockturtle said...

I am always a little wary of any claim of 'settled science', including human-caused climate change. I well remember doctors telling women how safe it was to take estrogen replacement therapy. [I'm thankful I quit taking it at 50].

Having worked in the field of scientific research I am more skeptical than those who haven't--and I think that is true about a lot of fields. Lay persons are the least likely to question 'science', especially 'science' as reported by the media.

Matthew Sablan said...

"1. Peanuts are a healthy source of protein -- yet a small minority of kids have bad allergic reaction to Peanuts. Nobody, however, thinks we should ban Peanuts."

-- Actually, lots of schools I hear/see are going peanut free.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Fred Drinkwater said...

In other words, refereeing a pissing match between the pilots union and the airlines.

If that were Trump's interest you would think he would appoint more women to the panel...

Chuck said...

I should add; one more problem for Trump in all of this is that with regard to Barron, Trump himself claimed that he and Melania were doing the spaced-out theory (a cheap shot, I know) of vaccine administration.

So, uh, if that is supposed to be a fix for autism, and Barron still has autism, and Trump made a big deal out of how he and Melania were playing it safe...

...and if Barron Trump has a form of autism; well, ummm.

Here is a page from one of the nutball conspiracy-theory autism-parent websites, doing their Trump-worship a very long time ago:
http://www.ageofautism.com/2007/12/trump-did-not-f.html

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Chuck said...

It's also a personal distraction for Trump. Because the issue of whether Barron Trump is or is not austistic is bound to come up; fair or not.

Quite the coincidence that all the unfair things that Chuck worries are bound to come up are bound to come up in Chuck's comments.

Sad.

Hagar said...

So, what is wrong with asking for research for other anti-fungal admixtures than thimerosal?
Or to investigate possible interactions when you are vaccinated against everything in the world with just one cocktail shot in each arm?

The belief in vaccines is so general that there are many sloppy practices around the country. But vaccines are potentially harmful and should not be slung around like holy water on the theory it can't hurt, just give them a squirt.

There is also the vaccination procedure itself. If the "vaccine" was just sterile water, how many kids around the country would be injured by dirty needles, unclean clinic facilities, etc., and so on?

Reading the comments hereon, it seems the believers in vaccines take them on faith as much as the "anti-vaxxers" take their theory on faith.

harryo said...

Putting a Kennedy anywhere in Washington D.C. will do nothing for draining the swamp. The Kennedy's are Beaver dams. Dynamite the damned things.

AprilApple said...

'I'm a Kennedy, and I attended the Hollywood school of scientific opinion. "

Hagar said...

Is "high on the autism spectrum" an explanation for Chuck?

Original Mike said...

"But vaccines are potentially harmful and should not be slung around like holy water on the theory it can't hurt, just give them a squirt."

What a disingenuous characterization of the medical community.

Brando said...

"-- Actually, lots of schools I hear/see are going peanut free."

Airlines too, though it might be because pretzels are cheaper. Also, if you go to Five Guys (which offers tubs of unshelled peanuts for snacking plus uses peanut oil in everything) they make a very public point of how they use peanuts and peanut oil, to make sure no one with a peanut allergy comes within 100 feet of the place.

Though one theory now is that the prevalence of peanut allergies is partly due to parents being so careful now about not exposing their kids to peanuts at all, so kids aren't getting the early exposure necessary to make their bodies used to them.

Original Mike said...

"There is also the vaccination procedure itself. If the "vaccine" was just sterile water, how many kids around the country would be injured by dirty needles, unclean clinic facilities, etc., and so on?"

All medical procedures carry this risk. No one is saying otherwise.

mccullough said...

My understanding of federal vaccine policy is that the CDC makes recommendations but the states are the ones that make and enforce the vaccine requirements (and exemptions).

Drago said...

harryo: "Putting a Kennedy anywhere in Washington D.C. will do nothing for draining the swamp. The Kennedy's are Beaver dams. Dynamite the damned things"

Unless there are responsibilities and powers delegated to this "chair" position, this type of showy PR move would have zero impact on draining or not draining the swamp.

Let's try to stay focused on what's real and what is not.

Drago said...

Hagar: "Is "high on the autism spectrum" an explanation for Chuck?"

No, as "lifelong republican" Chuck shows admiration and love and strong desire to affiliate with any and all left wing memes/narratives and talking heads which I believe would be indicators of a non-autism spectrum individual, though I am willing to be disabused of this notion should there be some research/science behind the alternative.

Brando said...

"Unless there are responsibilities and powers delegated to this "chair" position, this type of showy PR move would have zero impact on draining or not draining the swamp."

Why elevate them at all? If he appointed Chelsea Clinton as ambassador to France (a completely ceremonial position) I'd still argue with it.

Chuck said...

mccullough said...
My understanding of federal vaccine policy is that the CDC makes recommendations but the states are the ones that make and enforce the vaccine requirements (and exemptions).


True, but only slightly true. There is significant federal domination of the field, including the federal scheme, dating back to 1986 (the beginnings of the pseudo-scientific war on MMR vaccines, led mostly by liberal activists and their trial lawyer paymasters) to create a national vaccine injury compensation program.

Hagar said...

"Whoever controls the gold gets to rule."

Drago said...

Brando: "Why elevate them at all? If he appointed Chelsea Clinton as ambassador to France (a completely ceremonial position) I'd still argue with it"

Look, you are going to have to get used to the fact that we have Trump and he is going to reach out here and there for PR moves that indicate a willingness to work across the aisle.

Most importantly, the Trump team had a tremendous data advantage last election that allowed them to marshall their resources until late in the campaign and then execute in a very efficient and targeted fashion for maximum effect. We know this from the public comments of the key Trump team members (whom "lifelong republican" Chuck despises), the Forbes article on Jared Kushner (whom "lifelong republican" chuck despises) as well as positive commentary from Clinton campaign folks (whom "lifelong republican" Chuck respects a great deal and of whom "l.r." Chuck will not tolerate criticism).

Perhaps the Trump team have identified micro-groups that could be swayed over the long-term into the populist anti-establishment Trump camp in the same way that some democrat Sanders voters opted for Trump over Clinton (folks that "lifelong republican" Chuck would term traitors).

Hagar said...

What a disingenuous characterization of the medical community.

So, how much vaccination is actually given by anyone who can in any way be described as belonging to "the medical community"?

Brando said...

"Look, you are going to have to get used to the fact that we have Trump and he is going to reach out here and there for PR moves that indicate a willingness to work across the aisle."

I've never been against reaching across the aisle (depending on what you're giving up, etc.) but what constituency besides Hollywood nuts does RFK Jr. represent? Is this likely to get anyone over the aisle? Reaching out to the AFL or even Bernie Sanders I could sort of see--they do have influence and even some overlap with Trump goals--but RFK Jr? A damned Kennedy???

Sorry, I'm Kennedy-phobic. But if a group of anti-vaxxer leftists start drifting towards Trump's orbit, then maybe there's something there.

Drago said...

Brando: "Sorry, I'm Kennedy-phobic. But if a group of anti-vaxxer leftists start drifting towards Trump's orbit, then maybe there's something there."

Hey, I'm just riffing here but there were lots of moves the Trump campaign made that were roundly criticized in the lefty press and by some "lifelong republicans" but paid off handsomely, so a little leeway is called for here.

But don't get me wrong, it could just be a quirk based on "whatever"...but I doubt this team would let that happen.

Original Mike said...

"So, how much vaccination is actually given by anyone who can in any way be described as belonging to "the medical community"?"

I'm sorry, Hagar, I genuinely don't understand the question.

Chuck said...

"Look, you are going to have to get used to the fact that we have Trump and he is going to reach out here and there for PR moves that indicate a willingness to work across the aisle."

Right; some profoundly dangerous things, like bogus vaccine science, and the Damocrats' favorite pet project, using the monopolistic power of Medicare/Medicaid to drive down pharmaceutical costs, wrecking the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

You had better not have the fucking nerve to chide me as the "lifelong Republican, if Trump sides with Democrats on that one, sport.

"...Clinton campaign folks (whom "lifelong republican" Chuck respects a great deal and of whom "l.r." Chuck will not tolerate criticism)..."

I hated Hillary Clinton and her loathesome team so much, that I actually voted for Trump.

Drago said...

I see our "lifelong republican" has decided to engage on conservative issues.

That must be very very disorienting to our "lifelong republican" amigo.

Let us hope he doesn't cause any harm to himself or others.

ken in tx said...

"1. Peanuts are a healthy source of protein -- yet a small minority of kids have bad allergic reaction to Peanuts. Nobody, however, thinks we should ban Peanuts."

-- Actually, lots of schools I hear/see are going peanut free."

I was going to post the same thing. This person obviously does not have school aged children.
A child can be expelled for bringing a PB&J sandwich to school.

Drago said...

It's adorable when certain "lifelong republicans" try so hard to convince everyone of their anti-Hillary bona fides.

Most of them hated Hillary and wanted, truly wanted, so very badly, to criticize Hillary. But alas, that evil Trump would not allow any criticism of Hillary to pass their lips or onto their keyboard.

Darn it!

But next time for sure!

Brando said...

"Hey, I'm just riffing here but there were lots of moves the Trump campaign made that were roundly criticized in the lefty..."

I'll cop to having made similar criticisms myself, as I underestimated their voter targeting strategy. If there's something behind this, that's fine...but to paraphrase Indiana Jones, "Kennedys...did it have to be Kennedys?" Hell I'd have been okay with him making Obama U.N. ambassador over that.

Drago said...

Brando: "I'll cop to having made similar criticisms myself, as I underestimated their voter targeting strategy. If there's something behind this, that's fine...but to paraphrase Indiana Jones, "Kennedys...did it have to be Kennedys?" Hell I'd have been okay with him making Obama U.N. ambassador over that."

I know, I know.

Let's let it play out!

Jupiter said...

"“The science is clear: Massive evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism, and as both a scientist who develops vaccines for poverty-related neglected diseases and the father of an adult daughter with autism, there’s not even any plausibility for a link,” Hotez continued. “Autism is a genetic condition.”..."

So, there you have it, the science is settled. Having spent a fair amount of time reading about the history of science, I can tell you that the science usually is settled. Once in a while it comes unsettled, but then it gets settled again.

Of course, if autism is a genetic condition, and its prevalence is increasing, then it must be evolutionarily advantageous. I expect Hotez has got that all worked out. He's a scientist, after all.

Michael K said...

"Actually, lots of schools I hear/see are going peanut free."

The latest medical advice is introducing peanuts in early life as there is a "cleanliness" factor like that in asthma. Early exposure prevents allergies.

Hagar said...

@Original Mike,
Did you do military service and get your "all around" shots from military "medics"?
The school nurse in Alkali Flats public school system?
Flu shots at Kroger's?
Etc.

Unknown said...

Some clarity, please!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/trump-robert-kennedy-jr-vaccines-meeting-autism-214626

"For years, his distrust of vaccines had been an occasional curiosity of his Twitter feed, nestled between bromides against Rosie O’Donnell and boasts about his ratings on “Celebrity Apprentice.” “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes - AUTISM. Many such cases!” he tweeted in March 2014. “I am being proven right about massive vaccinations—the doctors lied. Save our children & their future,” he wrote months later.

You take this little beautiful baby, and you pump—I mean, it looks like just it’s meant for a horse and not for a child,” he said. “We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, 2 years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick. Now is autistic.”

Those concerns only grew on Tuesday, when Trump met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer who has long been immersed in those discredited theories. Kennedy told reporters at Trump Tower that he was responding to a summons by the president-elect. His goal in meeting with Trump, he said, was “to make sure we have scientific integrity in the vaccine process for efficacy and safety of vaccines.”"

Jupiter said...

cubanbob said...
"Thank God for vaccines. Who wants a world with smallpox and polio among other diseases?"

Well.

A, unless you thank God for everything, it seems a bit strange to thank him for vaccines. Thank him for smallpox and polio while you're at it.

B, they don't vaccinate for smallpox any more. And those of us who were vaccinated have mostly lost the immunity, it fades over time. So, if the Russkis, or the ChiComs, wanted to weaponize some of the smallpox they have undoubtedly got stored away, it would be very effective. It has been suggested that this may have been at least part of the reason that it was so easy to get everyone to help "eradicate" smallpox.

Drago said...

Unknown: "Some clarity, please!"

Clarity for you is not possible.

We can EXPLAIN it to you, but we cannot COMPREHEND it for you.

So you are out of luck.

Original Mike said...

Hagar, it's immaterial who administers the vaccine. They are following best medical practices developed by physicians and researchers (the "medical community"). Your post suggested these people don't give a crap about harming children. It was offensive and I responded accordingly.

Hagar said...

The latest medical advice is introducing peanuts in early life as there is a "cleanliness" factor like that in asthma. Early exposure prevents allergies.
Which is a form of "vaccination."

On a field exercise in the army we once got water from a local German well (a court martial offense, I think, but that is another story), and the next morning you never saw - or smelled - such a bivouac area. The only people unaffected in the battalion were myself and others born and raised in Europe.

Hagar said...

Hagar, it's immaterial who administers the vaccine. They are following best medical practices developed by physicians and researchers.

You don't get around much, do you?

Michael K said...

"Early exposure prevents allergies.
Which is a form of "vaccination."

Stretching it a bit. The lowest incidence of asthma is in north central Europe in kids raised on dairy farms.

There are now research projects trying to isolate a molecule in dairy farm dust that does it.

The only people unaffected in the battalion were myself and others born and raised in Europe.

My partner had a new illegal alien maid arrive back in the 70s who then got sick from the water for a week.

Hagar said...

Are you sure?
In basic raining I got sick from drinking army coffee, I thought, but it turned out to be the trisodiumphosphate they used for cleaning the pots and did not rinse out as they should. hich I figured out the first time I was put on KP and watched the proceedings.

Hagar said...

Which also goes to Original Mike's comments above.
The army has (or had, even in my time) strict regulations about cleaning out your utensils after meals in the fields. But water was scarce, and you would have to be nuts to use the wash and rinse your kits in the tubs provided after the first 500 men went through them with no change of water. The thing to do was to grab a wad of heather, or whatever, and clean with that, same as in the Stone Age.

Jupiter said...

Original Mike said...
"Hagar, it's immaterial who administers the vaccine. They are following best medical practices developed by physicians and researchers (the "medical community"). Your post suggested these people don't give a crap about harming children. It was offensive and I responded accordingly."

Ever get your tonsils out? Doesn't happen much, any more. The science came unsettled. But not that long ago, tonsillectomy was a very lucrative procedure, for doctors and hospitals. Once in a while someone's kid died, but that was OK. Doctors can bury their mistakes.

There is some dispute as to when "medical science" began doing more good than harm, but it wasn't that long ago. Take away antibiotics and they might still not have passed break-even. And the MDs are in the process of taking away the antibiotics. Something like a third of practicing MDs admitted that they have prescribed antibiotics for viral infections simply because the patient wanted them. Of course, antibiotics will not help viral infections, but prescribing them when they aren't needed leads to resistance in bacteria.

Hagar said...

George Washington was killed by his doctors.

Unknown said...

Drag,
I seriously doubt you have the capacity to explain your way out of a paper bag.

Original Mike said...

"Ever get your tonsils out? Doesn't happen much, any more. The science came unsettled."

I don't believe in "the science is settled.". Hell, I'm a scientist. I support continued research.

Original Mike said...

Now that you mention it, I still have my tonsils (at 62).

Yancey Ward said...

It sounds like to me that the autistic Kennedy only imagined he was being offered the position.

Original Mike said...

Is it possible Trump was trolling him?

Hagar said...

They took my tonsils out at the Catholic Mission Hospital in my hometown when I was 4 years old. I still remember the experience, and to this day have a vivid fear of nuns and men in long white coats.

Jupiter said...

Hagar said...
"They took my tonsils out at the Catholic Mission Hospital in my hometown when I was 4 years old. I still remember the experience, and to this day have a vivid fear of nuns and men in long white coats."

A lot of people just remember the ice cream. Tonsillectomy is useless and probably bad for you, but the only real danger is the general anesthesia. General anesthesia is always dangerous.

MPH said...

Henry,

RFK's brother Joe is practically Venezuela's ambassador to the US.

-MPH

MPH said...

It's open knowledge that Trump is a vaccine-truther.

RFK Jr also has ties to the Kremlin (again, see Russia Today, where he is a contributor of anti-American screeds).

Anyone surprised by this isn't paying attention.

Drago said...

MPH: Henry, RFK's brother Joe is practically Venezuela's ambassador to the US."

Venezuela provides the home hearing fuel to the Kennedys "charity" that allows the Kennedys to claim credit for their generosity.

Drago said...

Unknown: "Drag, I seriously doubt you have the capacity to explain your way out of a paper bag."

How big of a bag?

HT said...

If it's the vax, then autism's not hereditary.

HT said...

"There is some dispute as to when "medical science" began doing more good than harm, but it wasn't that long ago. Take away antibiotics and they might still not have passed break-even. And the MDs are in the process of taking away the antibiotics. Something like a third of practicing MDs admitted that they have prescribed antibiotics for viral infections simply because the patient wanted them. Of course, antibiotics will not help viral infections, but prescribing them when they aren't needed leads to resistance in bacteria. "


_____

I can't tell if you think taking away the antibx is good or bad. At any rate, it doesn't matter. It's good to be skeptical. But with your sweeping statement, do you mean to say that many (hundreds?) of lifesaving drugs people are on for chronic conditions are killing just as many as they are keeping alive?

We are talking about
levoythryoxine (thyroid)
the tens of diabetes drugs, including insulin
hypertension medications - too many to name
cholesterol drugs in some cases
"blood thinning" medications

These are obviously just a few and don't include other potentially fatal autoimmune diseases.

Amadeus 48 said...

If Trump appoints RFKJr to such a commission, it will destroy Kennedy but it won't do anything to Trump. Why not kill off whatever is left of the Kennedy mystique?

HT said...

RFK Jr seems already a little destroyed.

Michael K said...

Tonsillectomy is useless and probably bad for you, but the only real danger is the general anesthesia. General anesthesia is always dangerous.

So, those kids who are having tonsils out at age 21 for chronic tonsillitis are being mistreated ?

Come on.

Jack Wennberg when he became Vermont head of public health did a study on tonsillectomy. It turned out that the rate varied with the towns and there was little evidence of better or worse outcomes so the procedure fell into disuse.

Do you know, since you seem an expert, what replaced tonsillectomy ?

A hint. T&A (adenoids) were done because of ear infections. I had my tonsils out at age 3 because of ear infections and had a pediatrician do a myringotomy on me at home.

The procedure which replaced it, and which is extremely common these days, is the placement of PE tubes in the ear drum.

Come to think of it, I'm not so sure you really are an expert,

tim maguire said...

I think it's potetially another Trumpian case of late-blooming genius. Take an anti-vaxxer, put him in a position of authority, and make him come out pro-vaccine. This has at least partly already happened judging by this excerpt.

Then what do the anti-vaxxers do?

Besides, I'd like a deep look at vaccine policy. In my daughter's early years, she was treated like a pin cushion and whole some of the vaccines were important treatments for serious childhood threats, some of them were not. Some of the threats were minor and some were many years away. It was unnecessary to maintain such an aggressive vaccination schedule, but the politicians made sure our child couldn't go to school unless she was protected agaist an STD, or might get a fever.

mockturtle said...

Tim, I've always objected to the requirement of young children to get the Hep-B vaccine series. People regularly exposed to blood, like physicians, nurses, EMTs and IV drug users need the series. Children do not. I'm sure that if/when a vaccine for HIV is developed, it will be required for schoolchildren, too. And I don't like it. Immune technology is a wonderful thing and I'm all for it to prevent life-threatening and crippling illnesses. Not so sure we need to pile on the number of vaccinations babies and children are subject to today.

C R Krieger said...

I am with Jupiter on this. If the autism rate is increasing there must be a reason. While it is likely a genetic thing, with autism being related to some other genetic advantage that we select for, there is the very small possibility that the "science" is, at this point, correct, but wrong. I think appointing Robert Kennedy, Jr, to head a commission is (would be) brilliant.

Regards — Cliff

John said...

I was at the VA today for my routine 6 month checkup. For all the bad mouthing of VA, probably deserved, the service in the San Juan hospital and Ceiba outpatient clinic are fantastic.

We were talking about vaccines because I may need a yellow fever vaccination. (He's checking) But it also turned out that I probably never had a vaccination for mumps and may be at risk for shingles.

The vaccine was not available when I was a kid and I did have mumps in 3rd grade just like every other kid I know. Also chicken pox, measles and a half dozen other childhood diseases that were normal at the time.

So now I need to go to San Juan to be tested for Mumps antibodies and possibly get a vaccination.

Also got a flu vaccine and a pneumonia vaccine today, have to go back next week to get tetanus.

It is amazing how many diseases we took for granted in the 50s that are almost unheard of now.

I suspect that everyone my age went to school with other children who had been crippled or deformed by polio.

I suspect few people born in the 80s even know what polio is.

Yeah, I am a vaxxer.

John Henry

Chuck said...

C R Krieger said...
I am with Jupiter on this. If the autism rate is increasing there must be a reason. While it is likely a genetic thing, with autism being related to some other genetic advantage that we select for, there is the very small possibility that the "science" is, at this point, correct, but wrong. I think appointing Robert Kennedy, Jr, to head a commission is (would be) brilliant.

Regards — Cliff


But you say that, as if there haven't already been a vast and conclusive array of studies on the topic. It's been studied, to death. You write as if we've never had a commission on this subject. We have dozens of national commissions on vaccine safety and particularly pediatric vaccine safety! We have standing committees and commissions on vaccine science and production!

Few people in the world have advanced more irresponsible nutball theories in public on the subject of vaccines, than RFKJr. He's a true menace to science. A certifiable embarrassment. His first major article on the subject had to be withdrawn by the publisher. The great leading "study" on a link between vaccines and autism published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in the Lancet was withdrawn and debunked so completely, that Dr. Wakefield was stripped of his British medical licensure.

This is not some good idea to do something new and interesting that hasn't already been covered by researchers who forget more in a day about vaccine epidemiology than Trump or Kennedy will know in their combined lifetimes. It is the satisfaction of two damaged men (Kennedy and Trump) who each seem to have some personal, pathologocial need to find something to blame for autism.

I really wonder how many uninformed laypersons there are out there like you, Cliff; people of good will but no knowledge of the relevant science and epidemiology, and whose political decision to support Trump has been made, and now you're going to be defensive about anything that Trump proposes. Or perhaps you associate the Kennedy name with some level of credibility and public service. And maybe your are thinking that at least a study can't hurt anything, cuz more information has got to be good, right?




HT said...

In my experience on medical e-boards, there are just as many conservatives as liberals if not more who are anti vax. Sometimes it’s just bc they don’t want anyone telling them what to do. This is especially true out west.

"All adults born in or after 1957 should also have documentation of vaccination or other evidence of immunity. Adults born before 1957 are likely to have had measles and/or mumps disease as a child and are generally (but not always) considered not to need vaccination."

I suspect few people born in the 80s even know what polio is.
Maybe, but many older people who are grandparents have had polio and are still around. Also, if they know anything about FDR, then they probably know what it is.

HT said...

"Tim, I've always objected to the requirement of young children to get the Hep-B vaccine series. People regularly exposed to blood, like physicians, nurses, EMTs and IV drug users need the series. Children do not. I'm sure that if/when a vaccine for HIV is developed, it will be required for schoolchildren, too. And I don't like it."

As I understand it, the rationale for newborns getting hep b is that they have been exposed to a whole lot of maternal blood. I think HIV is in the pipeline, and ebola is almost ready to go.