Three family members of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. publicly slam him for promoting anti-vaccination views to the detriment of public health.
Kennedy Vs. Kennedy
In an op-ed piece in Politico, Kennedy Jr.'s siblings former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and his niece Maeve Kennedy McKean accuse him of being a "part of a misinformation campaign that's having heartbreaking — and deadly — consequences."
While the three authors praise "Bobby" for his commitment in championing environmental causes, they stress that he is wrong in the case of vaccines.
"Robert F. Kennedy Jr. [...] is part of this campaign to attack the institutions committed to reducing the tragedy of preventable infectious diseases," they wrote. "He has helped to spread dangerous misinformation over social media and is complicit in sowing distrust of the science behind vaccines."
On the other hand, the authors point out, the other members of their family are strong advocates of immunization and vaccination campaigns, including former President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy. Bobby, they say, is an outlier in their family when it comes to views on vaccines.
How Bad Is The Measles Outbreak?
In the piece, the three authors highlight the ongoing measles outbreak that is targeting communities in the United States with low vaccination rates.
CDC reports that as of May 3, the number of measles cases in the United States in 2019 has skyrocketed to 764. This is the country's highest number of measles cases in 25 years-and the year isn't even halfway done. Twenty-three states in the country have reported cases of measles.
The Kennedy authors point out that a big part of the problem is the public's growing fear and distrust of vaccines, which is amplified by doomsayers such as Kennedy Jr.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines are one of the most efficient tools for promoting individual and public health. It has greatly reduced infectious diseases worldwide with only clean water performing better at this objective.
Unfortunately, the authors of the op-ed piece pointed out that people are more afraid of the vaccine right now than the disease. This is despite of measles potentially leading to severe complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.
"Because they've been lucky enough to have never seen the diseases and their devastating impact. But that's not luck; it's the result of concerted vaccination efforts over many years," the authors explained.