|A smallpox victim. Photograph from the website of immunize.org|
From Stat News, “Reporting form the frontiers of health and medicine.”
The discredited researcher [Andrew Wakefield] who launched the anti-vaccine movement met with Donald Trump this summer — and found him sympathetic to the cause. Now, with Trump preparing to move into the White House, leaders of the movement are newly energized, hopeful they can undermine decades of public policy promoting childhood vaccinations.
At the most basic level, they’re hoping Trump will use his bully pulpit to advance his oft-stated concern — debunked by an extensive body of scientific evidence — that there’s a link between vaccines and autism.
A former doctor whose medical license was revoked, Wakefield launched the movement to question the safety of vaccines nearly two decades ago with a fraudulent study (which has since been retracted) suggesting that a widely administered vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella can cause autism.
Wakefield and a small group of like-minded activists spent nearly an hour with Trump in the closing months of the presidential campaign. “I found him to be extremely interested, genuinely interested, and open-minded on this issue, so that was enormously refreshing,” Wakefield said.