A newly elected congressman from Tennessee — who also happens to be a medical doctor — said on Tuesday that he believes vaccines might be the cause of autism, even though there exists no scientific evidence to back up that position.
According to the Tennessean, Republican Mark Green also told constituents he believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which holds that vaccines do not cause autism, has “fraudulently managed” the data.
His remarks came in response to an audience question at a town hall meeting in Franklin from a woman identifying herself as the parent of a young adult with autism. The woman was concerned about possible cuts to Medicaid funding.
"Let me say this about autism," Green said. "I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.
"As a physician, I can make that argument and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it," Green said.
The CDC data disproves Green’s claims: “Through multiple studies, the CDC has found no link between autism and vaccines, including from the mercury-based preservative in vaccines referenced by Green.”
And the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees:
"Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature," wrote two American Academy of Pediatrics doctors last year. "Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease."
Nevertheless, Green believes the CDC is wrong and promised constituents he would “stand against” the federal agency’s potentially intentional mishandling of the data.
"But it appears some of that data has been, honestly, maybe fraudulently managed," Green said. "So we've got to go up there and stand against that and make sure we get that fixed, that issue addressed."