The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing yesterday on vaccinations, and as the conservative Washington Times noted, the panel’s members delivered “a bipartisan show of unity” on the subject. That’s true, though there was a striking exception.
Among the witnesses was Dr. Anne Schuchat, a rear admiral for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) asked Schuchat a series of direct and important questions:
“Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism?”
“Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause ‘profound mental disorders’?”
“Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines have contributed to the rise in allergies or auto-immune disorders among kids?”
“Are there additives or preservatives in vaccines that can be toxic to kids?”
“Is there any scientific evidence that giving kids their vaccines further apart or spacing them differently is healthier for kids?”
“Is there any scientific evidence that kids can develop immunity to these diseases on their own, simply by eating nutritious foods or being active?”
The answer to all of these questions, not surprisingly, was “No.” It prompted the Massachusetts Democrat to add, “All of the credible scientific evidence suggests that modern vaccines are safe, modern vaccines are effective, and modern vaccines are our best chance of protecting our children from diseases that can kill them. Is that right?” Schuchat, of course, agreed.
The wording of Warren’s questions was not accidental. When she asekd, “Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause ‘profound mental disorders’?” Warren was effectively quoting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said last week, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
And what did the Kentucky Republican think about Warren’s not-so-subtle shot?
As it turns out, Rand Paul is a member of this committee, but the likely presidential candidate “was a no-show Tuesday at a hearing on the necessity of vaccines.”
According to his spokesperson, Paul was attending a separate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that coincided with the vaccinations hearing.