7 quotes from Robert F. Kennedy on Trump's proposed vaccine panel

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss the launch of a vaccine safety commission, which Mr. Kennedy — who has publicly criticized vaccine safety in the past — would lead.

Mr. Kennedy announced his acceptance of the role as chair of a possible "vaccine safety and scientific integrity" commission after the meeting. Later that day, he spoke with the journal Science about his conversation with Mr. Trump.

Here are seven quotes from Mr. Kennedy's Science interview on his meeting with President-elect Trump and vaccines.

1. On why Mr. Trump called the meeting: "He wants to make sure that we have the best vaccine science and the safest vaccine supply that we can have."

2. On Mr. Trump's vaccine suspicions: "He is troubled by questions of the links between certain vaccines and the epidemic of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism. And he has a number — he told me five — friends, he talked about each one of them, who has the same story of a child, a perfectly healthy child who went into a wellness visit around age 2, got a battery of vaccines, spiked a fever, and then developed a suite of deficits in the three months following the vaccine. He said that he understood that anecdote was not science, but said that if there's enough anecdotal evidence ... that we'd be arrogant to dismiss it. Those were his words."

3. On one of the primary goals of the possible panel: "To make sure that we're getting good science out of CDC."

4. On the CDC: "We talked a lot about CDC and ways to increase the independence from financial conflicts at CDC in the vaccine division... [CDC] is the locus of most of the most serious problems with the vaccine program, the two divisions at CDC: the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Immunization Safety Office, which is where the scientists are."

5. On who will serve on the commission: "A dozen people — a mix between science people and prominent Americans...We are going to look for people who have expertise in toxicology, epidemiology and in public health."

6. On whether Mr. Kennedy has science training: "No. My background is I'm an environmental lawyer. I'm not a scientist. But I have an expertise, I would say, in reading science and spotting junk science because that's what I do with most of my time."

7. On the value of vaccines: "I am for vaccines. I have been tracking mercury in fish for 30 years and nobody has called me antifish. I am pro-vaccine. I had all my kids vaccinated. I think vaccines save lives. But we are also seeing an explosion in neurodevelopmental disorders and we ought to be able to do a cost-benefit analysis and see what's causing them. We ought to have robust, transparent science and an independent regulatory agency. Nobody is trying to get rid of vaccines here. I just want safe vaccines."

More articles on infection control: 
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Detroit Medical Center passes surprise state inspection 
Former US Ebola czar: 3 reasons Trump's views are bad for pandemic preparedness

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