Well today, in the hands of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the Kennedy name is becoming synonymous with anti-vaccination lunacy.
Thankfully, despite any number of anti-vaccine publicity stunts, everything from a full-page ad in USA Today to challenging actual scientists to debate him, the rational public has left him behind. Even the wacky coast of California, which he once regarded as his core demographic, has accepted a law saying you can't put children at risk because of a cherry-picked group of 12 kids in the 1990s that was retracted by the journal and cost Andrew Wakefield his career.
Since no one seems to be listening, now he has taken to the New York Times for shrill fear-mongering letter attacking vaccine safety.
But this letter is just a recycling of the same old, same old attack on the vaccine preservative, thimerosal.
Predictably, he gets almost nothing correct. First of all, thanks to the CDC s enormous amount of misguided precaution, thimerosal was removed from most vaccines over a decade ago. Furthermore, the CDC has shown an incredible degree of transparency with thimerosal. There s a whole page on their site dedicated to listing its amount in every available vaccine. That's without even mentioning that in the few vaccines where it is used, thimerosal in the tiny amounts present is completely safe and necessary to insure that these lifesaving jabs are still effective when shipped to impoverished, rural areas, both here and in the third world.
You know who in that family is worth listening to on vaccines? President John F. Kennedy.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr could use his famous name to be a great leader in the public health arena but instead he chooses to run amok alongside other anti-science activists. Its truly a shame to see him ruin his family s once meaningful name.