Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tough Talk on Vaccines: Clinton, Obama Make Three

She may have eked out a victory in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, but Hillary Clinton probably won't be getting any more votes from vaccine manufacturers. And as far as the vaccine industry is concerned, neither will Barack Obama.

Both Democratic candidates for president have joined the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, in making statements about a purported link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism in children.

And here we thought McCain was the only misinformed candidate, making it safe for the pharmaceutical industry to think about voting Democratic this year. For a reminder on McCain's comments on vaccines and autism, you can check out our early blog post here.

Here's Clinton's response to recent candidate questionnaire from the group A-CHAMP:

"I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines....I will ensure that the NIH has the staff and funding to fully explore all possible causes of autism....

I plan to fully invest in our research agencies so they can protect our children’s health, and so they can find the causes and cures for conditions such as autism....We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism--but we should find out."
Here's what Obama said in response to a question during a rally in Pennsylvania on April 21, according to the

"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it."
We should point out that according to the, there's some dispute over what Obama meant when he said "this person." The Obama campaign asserts that the candidate was pointing to an individual in the audience, and was not referring to himself. Video from the remarks appears to back that up, but Obama still refers to the "inconclusive" science, which has been repeatedly discounted by scientific studies.

We know microtargeting has been especially popular during this election cycle, but is there a vaccines-cause-autism voting faction that we've missed? Or will candidates say just about anything on Primary Day to get elected? Given all the evidence to the contrary on the absence of a link between vaccines and autism, we hope that's all it is.

No comments: