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News on Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump may form a federal panel on vaccine safety prompted outcry from physicians and advocates.  Word of the panel came from Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who informed reporters that the president-elect had asked him to chair “a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity.”  Kennedy has previously suggested a link between autism and the vaccine preservative thimerosal.

Dr. Goldstein emphasized that any federal panel should, “promote policies that protect the progress our country has made toward eradicating dangerous, avoidable infectious diseases.”  Dr. Goldstein is a neonatologist and author of the 2015 policy paper, “Protecting Premature Infants from Infectious Diseases.”

Public debate over vaccine policy has reignited in recent years following a 2015 measles outbreak that began in Anaheim, California’s Disneyland.  Several states responded in 2016 with laws making it more difficult for parents to bypass vaccination requirements for their children in public schools.

In the wake of current controversy, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks has distanced the president-elect from the story.  She acknowledged only that President-elect Trump is “exploring the possibility of forming a commission on autism” but explains that “no decisions have been made at this time.”

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