Well-known vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attended the Sacramento screening of anti-vaccine documentary Trace Amounts on Tuesday and gave a speech to the audience, and as expected, it was filled with dangerous and unscientific misinformation. In light of the upcoming hearing for California Senate Bill 277, which eliminates the personal belief exemption for vaccines, RFK Jr. told the audience that public health officials and policy-makers can t be trusted.
They can put anything they want in that vaccine and they have no accountability for it, he reportedly told the crowd. [Children] get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country. Kennedy left the stage to a standing ovation.
Trace Amounts tells the story of filmmaker Eric Gladen, who believes he suffered mercury poisoning from thimerosal after receiving a tetanus vaccine in 2004. RFK Jr. has long been spewing out misinformation regarding thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that was used in vaccines up until 2001. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Institute of Medicine have all determined that thimerosal is safe, it was removed from vaccines (with the exception of some flu shots) as a precautionary measure due to backlash by misguided parents and the anti-vaccine hysteria fomented by advocacy groups and dangerous demagogues like RFK Jr.
Yet he and his followers are still vehemently against vaccines, even though this preservative that was determined safe was removed from childhood vaccines almost 15 years ago. In response, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician, and author of SB 277, called Kennedy s continued activism deceitful. I think it is dangerous that he is spreading misinformation about something that s very important for public health, he said. Autism rates have continued to rise even though we are not using thimerosal in vaccines for children. We still haven t figured out exactly what causes autism. We do know it s not vaccines.
Despite the facts, Trace Amounts and RFK Jr. are unfortunately still making an impact on the vaccine debate. Kennedy has credited the documentary with helping to stall Oregon s mandatory vaccine bill. And although RFK Jr. has no scientific credentials, people continue to listen to him because of his name.