Doctors are so outraged over the scare story about the HPV vaccine that Michele Bachmann told this week—and so sure it’s baseless—that they’re offering a hefty reward for anyone who can prove it’s true. In two interviews, Bachmann said a crying mother had approached her after Monday’s debate to say that her daughter had “suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine,” according to New York Magazine. Bachmann later backed off, saying she was just repeating what a woman told her.
But that’s not enough for University of Minnesota bioethicist Steve Miles, who has offered a $1,000 reward if the woman Bachmann spoke to can come forward with medical evidence to prove her claim, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. His old boss, the head of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, jumped in and one-upped him, offering a $10,000 bounty. “These types of messages in this climate have the capacity to do enormous public health harm,” Miles explains. “It’s an extremely serious claim.”