Green Party's US presidential candidate takes fire for vaccination comments

Dr Jill Stein expressed concerns over the approval process for vaccines

Jill Stein, The Green Party, Donald Trump, Vaccines,

Dr. Jill Stein, presumptive Green Party presidential nominee, speaks at a rally in Philadelphia during the DNC [AP Photo/John Minchillo]

While Republican Party nominee Donald Trump weathered a weekend of controversy over comments he made over the weekend, he was not the only presidential candidate to make headlines. The Green Party’s Jill Stein, a physician who earned her degree at Harvard Medical School, has come under fire after saying that although she thinks vaccines are “invaluable,” she expressed a number of concerns about them.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Stein clarified her stance on immunisation when asked about comments she made in a Reddit AMA in May.

“I think that there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases. Smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said. “Like any medication, they also should be, what shall we say, approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food & Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”

Currently, there are 17 people listed by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advistory Committee, of which only two represent the pharmaceutical industry. The other 15 members work in medical research or universities.

Stein added her concerns about vaccine safety in her interview, saying: “As a medical doctor, there was a time where I looked very closely at those issues, and not all those issues were completely resolved. There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.”

Stein’s comments drew a number of critics, with Colin Meloy, the singer and guitar player of the band The Decemberists, tweeting the Green Party candidate to outright ask whether she believed vaccines caused autism. Stein replied with “I’m not aware of evidence linking autism with vaccines.”

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