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The Doctors weigh in on the news that Robert Kennedy Jr., who is an outspoken opponent of vaccines, has been asked by President-elect Donald Trump to chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity.
In 2015, Kennedy was quoted as saying, “They get the shot… and three months later their brain is gone… this is a holocaust what this is doing to our country.” Trump’s plans for vaccines are unclear at this time, but Kennedy’s possible involvement has ignited the vaccination debate once again.
“This is so reckless… why do politicians get involved in medicine and healthcare?” Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon exclaims.
Attorney Areva Martin calls Kennedy’s possible position “very disturbing” and notes that Kennedy is neither a scientist nor a medical practitioner. As a mother of a child with autism, she stresses that parents seeking information and advice do not need more fake information regarding this serious topic. “We need solid scientific information to take care of our kids… him as an advisor on this issue should be troubling to all autism and special needs advocates,” she continues.
Dr. Ordon explains that the benefits and efficacy of vaccines have been shown “time and time again” and notes that reports linking vaccines to autism have been debunked repeatedly.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork recommends that people ask questions about all their medical procedures, but says he agrees with American Academy of Pediatrics, which calls vaccines “the most significant medical innovation of our time.”
In related vaccine news, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic penned a blog questioning whether the preservatives used in vaccines are safe for infants. Infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner joins The Doctors to discuss this hot-button issue.
“We don’t want parents to have more doubts, more concerns and be miseducated about vaccines,” he says. “Vaccines are remarkably safe and have been remarkably effective.”
Watch the video below to hear more from Dr. Schaffner about vaccines including whether parents should space out when their infants get vaccinated and whether vaccine preservatives are safe or not.
Following the incident, Clevland Clinic released a statement regarding the doctor’s blog post, saying, "Cleveland Clinic is fully committed to evidence-based medicine. Harmful myths and untruths about vaccinations have been scientifically debunked in rigorous ways. We completely support vaccinations to protect people, especially children who are particularly vulnerable. Our physician published his statement without authorization from Cleveland Clinic. His views do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."
Dr. Neidis, the author of the blog, also released a statement, writing, "I apologize and regret publishing a blog that has caused so much concern and confusion for the public and medical community. I fully support vaccinations and my concern was meant to be positive around the safety of them."
The Doctors, who note that vast majority of physicians vaccinate their own children, encourage parents to speak to their medical care providers about their vaccine concerns.