UPDATE: Jill Stein recently clarified her position on vaccines and it was underwhelming, to say the least. Her clarified comments were not vague, they were straight anti-vaxx pandering and while she says vaccines work, she pushes the myth that they could be dangerous. I have written and update here.
There are a few stories going around about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein being anti-science, and worse, anti-vaccine. This is nothing but pro-Clinton fear mongering at best.
While I have written about the Green Party’s own trouble with science, mostly dealing with GMO labeling and homeopathy, the idea that Jill Stein, a medical doctor is anti-vaccine is ridiculous if you take more than ten seconds to read her own statement on the issue.
I don’t know if we have an “official” stance, but I can tell you my personal stance at this point. According to the most recent review of vaccination policies across the globe, mandatory vaccination that doesn’t allow for medical exemptions is practically unheard of. In most countries, people trust their regulatory agencies and have very high rates of vaccination through voluntary programs. In the US, however, regulatory agencies are routinely packed with corporate lobbyists and CEOs. So the foxes are guarding the chicken coop as usual in the US. So who wouldn’t be skeptical? I think dropping vaccinations rates that can and must be fixed in order to get at the vaccination issue: the widespread distrust of the medical-indsutrial (sic) complex.
Vaccines in general have made a huge contribution to public health. Reducing or eliminating devastating diseases like small pox and polio. In Canada, where I happen to have some numbers, hundreds of annual death from measles and whooping cough were eliminated after vaccines were introduced. Still, vaccines should be treated like any medical procedure–each one needs to be tested and regulated by parties that do not have a financial interest in them. In an age when industry lobbyists and CEOs are routinely appointed to key regulatory positions through the notorious revolving door, its no wonder many Americans don’t trust the FDA to be an unbiased source of sound advice.
I read this as someone who wants to solve the crisis of dropping vaccination rates. And sadly, she is right, many Americans don’t trust the FDA. They should, but they have been told that lobbyists and special interests have overtaken the agency.
We also live in a country that promotes a for-profit healthcare system. When the healthcare industry cares more about shareholders and CEOs, why would Americans trust it?
Those of us who are scientifically literate are not swayed by this, we trust the scientific evidence, but the majority of Americans don’t think this way. They see corporate corruption on the news every single day. Why should they think the healthcare industry is any different?
Stein’s stance is far from anti-vaccine, it’s pro not-for-profit healthcare and pro restoring the trust in science as a discipline instead of trusting men in fancy suits telling us what is and isn’t safe.
I am not sure how some people are calling her answer confusing. She says clearly that vaccines save lives and we need to restore trust in them to the American people.
I guess people what read what they want to read because what’s happening now is, Hillary Clinton supporters know that they are going to lose a significant amount of Sanders supporters to Stein, so just as they did with Sanders, they must now demonize Stein.
If you want to debate policy, step one is getting it right.