National Consumers League

NCL raises concern about potential Kennedy vaccine appointment

January 13, 2017

Contact: NCL Communications, Cindy Hoang, cindyh@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization is today sounding the alarm bells about news that President-elect Trump might be considering anti-vaccination charlatan Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to chair either a vaccine safety or autism commission. The National Consumers League (NCL) says the appointment would be a step backwards for public health, giving those who oppose vaccines another platform to spout the discredited notion of a causal link between vaccines and autism.   

“Let’s be clear,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg, “The scientific consensus is overwhelming: vaccines don’t cause autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and dozens of peer-reviewed studies have all said that there’s no connection. Indeed, the one so-called study that tried to assert the connection was found to be fraudulent and thoroughly debunked.,” said Greenberg. “Appointing someone like Kennedy – a purveyor of junk science with no medical training - is dangerous to the public’s health and must be denounced by all responsible voices.”

Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, public doubts about vaccine safety remain. In fact, NCL’s vaccine perception study found 33 percent of survey respondents think vaccinations can cause autism. In addition, while most survey respondents (87 percent) say they support mandatory vaccination of school-aged children in theory, 64 percent of adults say parents should have the final say whether or not to vaccinate.

The following statement may be attributed to Greenberg:

“The reason behind these vaccine doubters is likely that the current generation of parents has never experienced the panic—and often heartbreak—caused by outbreaks of diphtheria, polio, small pox, tetanus and influenza that earlier generations of parents suffered before vaccines were developed. . They have lost perspective on how serious – and deadly - these diseases can be. As a result, those parents abstaining from having their children vaccinated are enabling deadly illnesses to return. And threatening everyone’s health.

“As the Trump Administration comes into the White House, the public health community must come together to reject junk science and demand that accurate, life-saving information about vaccines be widely disseminated. Let us never return to those dark days of fatal – and completely preventable - disease outbreaks and thank modern medicine for developing vaccinations that enable all of us – especially children - to lead long, healthy, and happy lives.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.