Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes a variety of incorrect or misleading claims about vaccines, COVID-19 and other health-related topics. But his views on vaccines rose to prominence when he began to advance the thoroughly debunked idea that they cause autism.
Studies have found the rate of autism is the same in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. But the false claim that vaccines are associated with the disorder persists. A prominent spreader of COVID-19 misinformation wrongly told legislators in Pennsylvania that autism is virtually nonexistent among the unvaccinated, citing the Amish population.
Q: Is the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy linked to autism or ADHD?
A: There is currently no strong evidence that acetaminophen use during pregnancy causes autism or ADHD in children. Expert groups continue to recommend use of the drug during pregnancy when necessary and in consultation with a doctor.
In a July 31 television interview, Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson inaccurately implied there might be a connection between vaccines and higher reported rates of childhood chronic diseases. She is correct that reported rates of chronic conditions in kids have increased over the last several decades, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest vaccines are the cause.
At a town hall event on Dec. 11, Rep.-elect Mark Green of Tennessee inaccurately claimed that vaccine preservatives might cause autism. He also repeated an unsubstantiated claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “fraudulently managed” data that showed a link between vaccinations and autism.
Scores of readers have written in asking why Sen. John McCain had said several times during the debate that his running mate, Sarah Palin, knew about autism.
McCain: And, by the way, she also understands special-needs families. She understands that autism is on the rise, that we’ve got to find out what’s causing it, and we’ve got to reach out to these families, and help them, and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children.