What's the status on Trump's proposed vaccine panel? 5 things to know

President Donald Trump in January tapped Robert Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist who has publicly questioned the safety of vaccines for years, to lead a proposed vaccine safety committee. However, Mr. Kennedy told STAT Monday he has not spoken with the White House about forming such a committee since February.

Here are five things to know.

1. After Mr. Kennedy announced the possible vaccine safety panel, public health officials expressed alarm, fearing such a panel could weaken vaccine adherence among the populous, according to STAT. Mr. Kennedy has previously suggested a possible link between vaccines and neurodevelopmental conditions like autism.  

2. While Mr. Kennedy has not spoken with the White House in recent months specifically regarding a vaccine safety panel, he has met with top officials from the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and HHS to discuss vaccination at the White House's request.

3. Mr. Kennedy addressed his concerns regarding vaccine safety with NIH officials during a May 31 meeting.

"In the meeting, NIH noted that there is strong and extensive scientific data that support the safety and efficacy of vaccines," an NIH spokesman told STAT. "NIH reaffirmed with Mr. Kennedy that vaccines are among the most beneficial health interventions in history in terms of the number of lives that have been saved over decades, have been shown to be very safe and are vital to the public health goal of preventing diseases."

4. When asked by STAT if the special vaccine safety commission is dead, Mr. Kennedy said, "You'd have to ask the White House. It may be that it's evolved. I've been told that the president is still interested in this issue and that he wants me to have further meetings with the regulatory agencies and with the White House. Like I said, I have not talked to anybody in the White House about the commission."

5. In the STAT interview, Mr. Kennedy said his views about vaccination have been misrepresented by the media and that he has rejected the term "anti-vaxxer."

To read the full STAT Q&A with Mr. Kennedy, click here.

To read the STAT article about the possible vaccine safety panel, click here.

More artices on vaccines: 
CDC: Yellow fever vaccine out of stock 
Cholera vaccine efficacy among adults is nearly twice the rate among children 
Pro-vaccine messages can backfire, study finds

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