Donald Trump just went on CNBC and argued that vaccines are causing autism. The claims went unchallenged. He said:
Autism is so prevalent today. I’ve been saying this for a long time, that the — I’m not against vaccination but I’m against massive vaccinations at one time in order to save doctor visits with the doctors. and frankly, a lot of people love that and some people didn’t look it. My attitude is if you spread the vaccinations over a period of time, what do we have to lose? Autism is so prevalent.
Trump has been making similar claims on Fox and Friends and on Twitter. On TwitLonger, he made the following summation of his position:
I’ve gotten many letters from people fighting autism thanking me for stating how dangerous 38 vaccines on a baby/toddler under 24 months are. It is totally insane – a baby cannot handle such tremendous trauma. Now they come up with this ridiculous study blaming obesity in the mother. The FDA should immediately stop heavy dose vaccinations and you will see a huge decrease in children with autism. What do they have to lose—nothing—but plenty to gain if I am correct. There is great dishonesty about autism!
Luckily for me, someone smarter and richer than Trump — twenty times richer – has already done the bulk of the job of correcting this statement. On national television, no less.
Cue Bill Gates, from his 2011 CNN interview with Sanjay Gupta, on the retracted paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that helped kick off the idea of a vaccine-autism link:
Gates: Well, Dr. Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.
Just to emphasize that: “an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids.” Gates, through the work of his foundation, has seen the impact that these vaccines can have. Hundreds of thousands of kids still die of measles every year worldwide because they don’t get measles vaccine. In a few countries, there are still cases of polio. If we stopped vaccinating, it would come back here. Whooping cough is making a comeback, perhaps partly because of weaknesses in the vaccine, but also because some people are choosing not to get kids their shots. Trump’s statement that we have nothing to lose by trying out giving fewer vaccines, or even changing the vaccine schedule, which makes it more likely that kids will miss shots, is simply wrong.
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