Robert Kennedy Jr., long a vocal skeptic of childhood vaccinations, told reporters Tuesday that president-elect Donald Trump has asked him to "chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity."
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According to CBS News, Trump met Tuesday with Kennedy, who said the meeting was held at Trump's request. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the meeting was to focus on "issues pertaining to vaccines and immunizations."
Kennedy, the son of slain US. Presidential candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy, has spent years focusing on the alleged dangers of vaccines.
The meeting comes after numerous instances in which Trump has seemed to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines -- a notion not backed up by the vast majority of science on the issue.
"I am totally in favor of vaccines," Mr. Trump said in a GOP primary debate. "But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump -- I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not for a child, and we've had so many instances, people that work for me ... [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."
Kennedy has also supported a link between thimerosal -- a preservative once widely used in childhood vaccines -- and autism, according to published reports.
The vast majority of medical experts say there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and the study that popularized the idea was found to be fraudulent and retracted.
"Research does not show any link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder," the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.
And in response to today's announcement, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that vaccines, "have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time. Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives."
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