More fake news: No, the Trump administration is not going to remove all vaccine-related information from the CDC website, but that doesn’t mean science advocates shouldn’t worry

Last night was a bit weird. I think too many days of only getting a few hours of sleep finally caught up to me, and I crashed by around 9:30 PM. So, contrary to usually happens, when I say this post will be briefer than usual, I actually mean it; I have even less time this morning than usual to pump out a quickie post. However, this is the perfect time to look at one thing that probably doesn’t rate a full heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence but that I’d like to take note of anyway. It’s a bit of fake news that’s been making the rounds similar to the fake news a couple of weeks ago that claimed that the FBI had raided the headquarters of the CDC in Atlanta in the middle of the night, accompanied by the “CDC whistleblower.”

Naturally, the graduates of the Dunning-Kruger School of Science over at Sherri Tenpenny’s antivaccine website Truthkings fell for it, hook, line, and (almost) sinker, in a post by Gary Barnes entitled Trump To Possibly Remove All Vaccine Info From CDC Website:

According to sources, the CDC has been ordered by Trump to remove all vaccine related information by February 18th of this year. We’ve been seeing these rumors crop up online more and more frequently ever since President Trump appointed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to a Vaccine Safety committee.

Here is one of the instances posted on the Salt Lake City Guardian.

I had never heard of the Salt Lake City Guardian before; so I headed on over to the source article that got Barnes so excited, TRUMP ORDERS CDC TO REMOVE ALL VACCINATION RELATED INFORMATION FROM WEBSITE:

According to sources, the Trump administration has instructed the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to remove all vaccination related material from the official government website until further notice.

A former CDC employee told Salt Lake City Guardian that it isn’t uncommon for incoming administrations to review the information promoted through government sources, however the move by Trump is seen as unusual.

“What the Trump administration is doing is extreme, and very troubling, especially when it comes to the dangers behind unvaccinated children within our school systems. Trump’s touched on his skepticism of the science behind vaccines during his election, so this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise,” said a former Obama CDC official.

The story notes that the information is still on the CDC website, and, sure enough, it still is. The story also notes that Donald Trump has questioned vaccine science twice. That’s a huge underestimate. In reality, Trump has posted antivaccine nonsense to Twitter numerous times and repeated in at least two or three different interviews his belief that vaccines cause autism. He is an antivaxer, just like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Just taking a look at the Salt Lake City Guardian should be enough to let you know it’s fake news. If that’s not enough, do a WHOIS search on the domain and you’ll see it was created January 14 and is registered anonymously by Domains by Proxy, LLC. So, basically, what we have here is every indication that this is fake news: A highly dubious story with no sources coming from a disreputable source that whose website was only registered three weeks ago.

Fake news.

This was an obvious bit of fake news that TruthKings fell for. However, it does point to a very real phenomenon. With Donald Trump in the White House, antivaxers have become emboldened because they think they have one of their own there, given that Trump has met with antivaccine activists Andrew Wakefield and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. As a result, they are furiously petitioning the Trump administration with their vaccine policy wishes and their stories of “vaccine injury.” Meanwhile, antivaxers are, predictably, organizing another antivaccine “march on Washington. As Elton John and Bernie Taupin put it, I’ve seen that movie too. It happened in 2008 with Jenny McCarthy. However, in 2008 there wasn’t an antivaxer in the White House, although some of the cast of characters was the same (e.g., RFK Jr.).

I have a real worry that, at best, the Trump administration will undermine trust in vaccines and at worst change vaccine policy for the worst. I’ll very likely have more to say on this, either tomorrow here or Monday at my not-so-super-secret other blog. Stay tuned.