De Niro Making News Again Over Vaccines

Supports $100K reward offered for proof of debunked link to autism
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2017 8:00 PM CST
De Niro Making News Again Over Vaccines
A file photo of Robert De Niro.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Despite once expressing a desire to punch him, Robert De Niro now says he's open to working President Trump—at least indirectly—on exploring the debunked link between autism and vaccines, the Washington Post reports. "If he does the right thing, he does the right thing," the actor said following a panel Wednesday at the National Press Club. The panel was led by Robert Kennedy Jr., chairman of the World Mercury Project. According to BuzzFeed News, Kennedy believes journalists are working with the CDC to bury the truth about a vaccine ingredient called thimerosal causing autism in children, and he offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who can produce a study that finds vaccines with the ingredient are safe for kids and pregnant women. De Niro, who was mostly quiet during the panel, did speak up to say he agrees with Kennedy "100%."

Science, on the other hand, does not. Doctors, medical organizations, and the CDC say Kennedy's beliefs are unequivocally false. The director of a vaccine education center says seven studies published between 2000 and 2007 alone show that. Furthermore, thimerosal hasn't been used in children's vaccines since 1999 and is barely used in flu vaccines anymore, but autism rates are rising anyway, notes BuzzFeed. Kennedy met with Trump in January about heading a commission on vaccine safety. He says he's spoken to aides three times about the commission since then and expects it to happen, Stat reports. With that on the horizon, 350 medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, sent a letter to Trump last week reasserting the safety of vaccines. (More vaccines stories.)

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