HealthQuest with Dr. David Kolbaba

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Trump continues to suggest vaccinations can cause autism.


Fortune - Among the conspiracy theories in regular rotation by President Trump is his insistence there is a connection between autism and vaccines.

He's made this discredited link - a theory based and popularized on a now-debunked and retracted study by Andrew Wakefield - via speeches, tweets and even the Republican debate stage.


In a conversation with educators and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Trump reiterated these concerns "So, what's going on with autism?" he asked a teacher in the audience. "When you look at the tremendous increase, it's really - it's such an incredible - it's really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase."

"Maybe we can do something," he added.

It's not surprising that Trump continues to suggest that vaccinations can cause autism - he's been saying as much for years. But as president, Trump's position carries outsized weight, and has the power to significantly impact autism research and treatment, as well the number of preventable outbreaks of viral-borne diseases such as measles and mumps.

There are indications Trump plans to set up a "vaccine safety commission" headed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a vocal proponent of the theory that vaccines cause autism. Kennedy told Politico as much, adding that he has met with Trump's staff and transition team "many times" since the election to discuss the issue, hinting that a formal announcement from the White House is forthcoming.

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