Trump: No decision made for head of vaccine safety panel, but providers still voice opposition

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., JD, announced President-elect Donald Trump chose him to lead a new commission focused on vaccine safety and scientific integrity, sparking fierce opposition from physicians who questioned the pick.

Trump representatives said the president-elect has not made a decision, according to MedPage Today.

The facts are muddled concerning whether Mr. Kennedy was mistaken or spoke too soon, but the possibility fueled anger amongst many providers as Mr. Kennedy is renowned for critiquing pediatric immunization programs.

Leading organizations such as the American Medical Association stood behind vaccines' efficacy and said the Trump administration's decision to create a new vaccine safety commission would create confusion and negatively influence parents' decisions regarding vaccinating their children.

American Academy of Pediatrics President Fernando Stein, MD, issued a statement reaffirming the group's support of vaccines. The AAFP said vaccines prevent against life-threatening disease and have been "part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time."

Physicians spanning the nation spoke out on behalf of vaccines, with Waco, Texas-based Baylor University's Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, noting he was "deeply disturbed by the appointment." Dr. Hotez published a paper in PLOS which cited large studies disproving links between vaccines and autism. Fellow Baylor physician Carol Baker, MD, told MedPage Today, "The appointment of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to chair a commission of vaccine safety and scientific integrity is a major step backward for the health of our nation."

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