Fact-Checking Michele Bachmann’s Anti-Vaccine Lunacy
TIME Magazine’s Healthland blog tears apart Michele Bachmann’s loony anti-vaccination nonsense: Vaccination Causes ‘Mental Retardation’? Fact-Checking Michele Bachmann’s Claim.
Perhaps more disturbing are comments Bachmann made Tuesday morning about the safety of the HPV vaccine itself — and what they revealed about her utter misunderstanding of the science.
Talking with Matt Lauer on the Today show, Bachmann said that the vaccine was “a very dangerous drug.” She continued:
I had a mother come up to me last night here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection. And she suffered from mental retardation thereafter. The mother was crying when she came up to me last night. I didn’t know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.
In fact, “mental retardation” is not a “very real concern” when it comes to vaccination. Rather, Bachmann is resurrecting the alleged connection between vaccines and mental disability — namely autism — which has been repeatedly debunked. Last year, the fraudulent research that first triggered parents’ widespread and persistent fear of vaccination was retracted by the medical journal that published it, and its author, Andrew Wakefield, was stripped of his medical license.
In August, a sweeping report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) analyzed all the available data on the adverse events associated with eight childhood vaccines and found few risks. Notably, it also confirmed that there was no connection between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) — the vaccine that so many parents still fear — and autism risk.
The IOM report also included data on the HPV vaccine, finding some evidence to indicate that the side effect of fainting was a concern. But it did not find sufficient evidence to support any side effects involving development, such as mental retardation.
The anti-science insanity of the Republican Party has never been more evident. These people are willing to put children’s lives at risk for no reason other than their own religious hangups.