The actor, who has a son with autism, joined Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to hold a controversial press conference pushing an anti-vaccine agenda, announcing that they will be rewarding $100,000 to anyone who can prove that vaccines are safe, reports Vox.
Throughout the press conference, the pair peddled numerous discredited claims about the safety of vaccines, suggesting they cause autism and that journalists and the government have always been lying about their safety, leading to an "autism epidemic". "Kennedy also suggested journalists and the government have been colluding to cover up the truth about vaccine safety, and that the shots have 'caused the autism epidemic'". A while back he actually got the ear of President Trump, coming away with the claim that he would be appointed to run a vaccine safety commission.
Today, Kennedy said he expects the commission to go forward - and that he had talked to Trump's team since their meeting - but he couldn't confirm anything. I thought what Bobby said was great.
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Routine vaccines for kids are now mercury-free. He also claims that the government is covering this up, an allegation he made in a 2005 article for Rolling Stone called "Deadly Immunity". There is no evidence to support this view. He says the science is unequivocal that mercury is a serious health hazard and exposure is linked to many different diseases and conditions (ADHD, Alzheimer's, Acrodynia and Autism).
Kennedy's article at Salon was retracted, after the online magazine had to run a series of corrections that contradicted numerous piece's claims.
This came despite the existence of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a "group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on use of vaccines" for the nation, according to its website. And since then, researchers have found that autism rates among children haven't gone down.
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Kennedy also stated that he is not anti-vaccine but opposes the use of mercury in them. In order to pull some attention, he had Robert DeNiro along (although DeNiro's contribution amounted to "I agree with what Kennedy said"). What's more, thimerosal was never used in the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine that some vaccine skeptics claim causes autism.
Kennedy stated that the promised amount would be given to the first journalist or individual who can show a peer reviewed study based on scientific reasoning, which says the amount of thimerosal now used in vaccines is safe.
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