Robert Kennedy Jr's mind is playing tricks on him. No matter where the anti-vaxxer looks, all he can see is his own misguided convictions.
After reading a CBS new article about how young people are more depressed, anxious and suicidal than ever, Kennedy completely ignored what the scientists had to say - that these trends are likely linked to cultural changes, such as less sleep and less face-to-face time with family and friends.
Instead, he came to his own spurious conclusions.
"What are we doing to our children?" he tweeted last week.
"@CBSNews reports sharp unexplained rises in #depression + #anxiety in American teens. Shouldn't we ask whether these trends are associated with the neurotoxic aluminum we are giving young teens in Gardasil #vaccine?"
What are we doing to our children? @CBSNews reports sharp unexplained rises in #depression + #anxiety in American teens. Shouldn't we ask whether these trends are associated with the neurotoxic aluminum we are giving young teens in Gardasil #vaccine?https://t.co/yTELmC1AhS— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) March 21, 2019
Kennedy's unwillingness to accept the safety and necessity of vaccines has led him to see causation were there is none, but the real danger comes when he begins to warn others about this nonsense.
In the past, the environmental attorney and outspoken anti-vaxxer has compared vaccines to the holocaust. He has also claimed there is an "overt conspiracy" within the vaccine division of the US Centres for Disease Control and Infection.
I'm not even a teen and I think his tweet just gave me depression— sara za (@zandze) March 21, 2019
A mere month ago, amid a huge measles outbreak that left 800 kids missing school, Kennedy voiced his nonsensical views at a Washington state hearing on whether unvaccinated children should be barred from public schools.
Speaking before the legislature's health committee, Kennedy erroneously claimed that the MMR vaccine had never undergone safety testing.
He then began listing all the diseases he thought vaccines were responsible for: "ADD, ADHD, speech delay, autism, food allergy, autoimmune diseases. Prior to 1986, 12 percent of kids in this country had chronic disease. Today it's 54 percent."
None of this is true. The MMR vaccine has absolutely undergone double-blind safety testing, considered a gold standard measure. And just this month a decade-long study of over 650,000 children found no link between MMR and autism - once again.
Kennedy's most recent tweet, however, is an attack on the HPV vaccine, and doctors are not happy about it.
"Stop. Fear. Mongering," warns one doctor on Twitter. "You are wishing cervical cancer upon our mothers, sisters and daughters. SHAME. ON. YOU."
Stop. Fear. Mongering.— Leah Torres, MD (@LeahNTorres) March 22, 2019
You are wishing cervical cancer upon our mothers, sisters and daughters.
SHAME. ON. YOU.
— Artyom Korenevsky, PharmD (@SciencePharmer) March 21, 2019
Nah bro, we shouldn't. #VerbalDiarrheaRob
The thing is, there's already a ton of misinformation and straight up lies out there regarding this vaccine, and when you look at the stats, it makes sense why these doctors are so infuriated.
"HPV causes over 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the US," the CDC reports. "HPV vaccination can prevent over 90 percent (31,200) of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers."
That's a ton of lives saved and a huge weight lifted off the medical system, not some conspiracy to make people more sick.
Your responsibility as a representative of the people and for the people is to inform the people of the medically and scientifically proven evidence - NOT propagate unsubstantiated #FakeMedicalNews— Neil Floch MD (@NeilFlochMD) March 22, 2019
The CDC has assured the public over and over that scientists have "carefully studied the risks of HPV vaccination" and that the vaccine is "recommended because the benefits, such as prevention of cancer, far outweigh the risks of possible side effects."
But thanks to a growing anti-vaccination movement, too many parents remain hesitant about the safety of the HPV vaccination. Never mind the fact that clinical trials involving over 44,000 women showed no differences in serious side effects between the HPV vaccines and control groups.
How dare you. I have been suffering for ten years the quality of life effects of toxic radiation and chemo I needed for HPV caused throat cancer. If the Gardasil vaccine was around when I was young, it would have saved me this. I vaccinated both my teenage boys.— The Robust Opposition (@Lauren_Steiner) March 22, 2019
In short, the HPV vaccine is not giving young teens depression. Kennedy completely made that idea up. In fact, nowhere in the CBS article that he links to is there even a hint that this could be a possibility.
"While the researchers didn't study the reasons behind the trend, they have some theories," the article reads.
"[The authors say] shifting cultural trends over the past decade, including increased use of electronic communications and digital media, may have had a larger effect on mood disorders among younger generations compared with older generations."
How Kennedy got from that to the Gardasil vaccine we may never know.