United States politicians on the campaign trail take up vaccine injury…again

15 Sep

In the last US presidential campaign, prominent candidates made statements about vaccine injury. Specifically autism.

Senator McCain made comments about autism and mercury:

“At a town hall meeting Friday in Texas, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that “there’s strong evidence” that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S. — a position in stark contrast with the view of the medical establishment.”

Barak Obama made a comment which, without the video to put it in context, seemed to lend support:

“We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.” –Barack Obama, Pennsylvania Rally, April 21, 2008.

(“this person” was a person in the audience)

This time it is Michele Bachman. She has made the claim that gardasil (the vaccine against HPV, given to teenage and older women), resulted in “mental retardation”.

Candidate Rick Perry responded to the baseless accusation by Ms. Bachman:

You heard the same arguments about giving our children protections from some of the childhood diseases, and they were, autism was part of that. Now we’ve subsequently found out that was generated and not true.”

As a side note: the Pharyngula blog is reporting that Prof. Steven Miles has put up a $1,000 challenge for proof of Ms. Bachman’s statement.

I am offering $1000 for the name and medical records release of the person who Michele Bachmann says became mentally retarded as a consequence of the HPV. Please share this message.

Ms. Bachman’s comments were just plain wrong. She’d do well to apologize and move on. My own biased suggestion would be for her to move on into discussing some subjects involving the betterment of life for the disabled. This isn’t exactly a big plank in the republican platform but, hey, isn’t this about showing leadership?

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10 Responses to “United States politicians on the campaign trail take up vaccine injury…again”

  1. Harold L Doherty September 15, 2011 at 16:05 #

    Funny thing about democracies. It is hard to suppress free discussion of issues that are important to people.

  2. Dedj September 15, 2011 at 19:18 #

    “Funny thing about democracies. It is hard to suppress free discussion of issues that are important to people.”

    Yet, by sarcastically chiding people and implying that free discussion which just happens to be negative is equivilant to suppression of free discussion, you are effecting an informal negative sanction and – therefore – attempting to suppress free discussion.

    Of course, I have no doubt that an honest and upstanding person like yourself will be horrified that your lack of clarity and content resulted in this situation, and I’m in no doubt that you will wish to re-make your opening statement in a totally clear and transparent way so that there is no doubt whatsoever as to whatever it is you are trying to say about the article.

    Over to you, Harold.

  3. Dedj September 15, 2011 at 19:27 #

    I meant “therefore under the values you appear to be applying to the article”.

  4. MikeMa September 15, 2011 at 22:50 #

    The HPV risk/benefit ratio is a very, VERY small number. I expect a huge lesson in basic math is not required for Harold to recognize the value of such a thing. With Bachmann, I’m not too sure.

  5. Andrew September 16, 2011 at 00:13 #

    I thought Harold was celebrating the fact that Bachmann’s wild claims are getting so vigorously debunked by the democratic action of bloggers and reporters; he’s right that it’s very unlike the suppression that parents experience when they try to communicate about the benefits of vaccines in non-democratic societies and at heavily moderated (i.e. censored) internet forums.

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