‘I love Uncle Bobby but he’s wrong’: Doctor granddaughter of anti-vaxxer RFK Jr. hits out after he asked why US public is being ‘put at risk of severe allergic reactions to shoddily-tested vaccines’
- Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, 29, hit out at her uncle Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 66, calling his views on the COVID-19 vaccine ‘dangerously wrong’
- She works as an internal medicine resident physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and treated COVID patients at the height of the pandemic
- The doctor said she loves her uncle yet ‘when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong’
- She called out his recent posts highlighting the allergic reactions to the vaccine
- Kennedy Meltzer said it is ‘a serious matter’ but that a higher percentage of people have a food allergy than have experienced a reaction to the vaccine so far
- Kennedy Jr, the son of RFK, is a prominent anti-vaccine activist
- His family have previously called him out for ‘tragically wrong’ opinions
The doctor granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy who cared for coronavirus patients in New York City at the height of the pandemic has called out her anti-vaccine uncle for spreading ‘misinformation’.
In an op-ed for the New York Times on Wednesday, Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, 29, wrote that she loves her uncle Robert F. Kennedy Jr. yet ‘when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong’.
Kennedy Jr, the son of late Attorney General Robert F Kennedy and nephew of late President John F Kennedy, is a prominent anti-vaccine activist and has advocated that parents should choose whether or not they want their children immunized.
The 66-year-old has more recently been posting his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine, claiming that there is a danger of allergic reaction after they were ‘shoddily tested’ and asking how Dr Fauci and other experts have planned to deal with it.
Yet Kennedy Meltzer, who works as an internal medicine resident physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, hit back calling her uncle’s assertion ‘dangerously wrong’ as she urged Americans to take the vaccine ‘for your country’.
Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, 29, (pictured left) wrote in an op-ed Wednesday that she loves her uncle Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (pictured right) yet ‘when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong’
Kennedy Meltzer references her uncle’s recent posts about the COVID-19 vaccines
She revealed that while she admired RFK Jr for his work on climate change, she had stopped following him in 2019 as a result of his posts about the dangers of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at a time when the United States was experiencing an outbreak.
‘As a doctor, and as a member of the Kennedy family, I feel I must use whatever small platform I have to state a few things unequivocally,’ she wrote.
‘I love my uncle Bobby. I admire him for many reasons, chief among them his decades-long fight for a cleaner environment. But when it comes to vaccines, he is wrong.’
Kennedy Meltzer, the youngest daughter of RFK’s eldest child Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, said she was concerned abour her uncle as she was aware that his ‘name and platform mean that his views carry weight’.
She referenced a Facebook post of his from December 17 in which he accused government health regulators of ‘utterly abdicated their responsibility to safeguard public health’ which has since amassed 5,000 shares.
Kennedy Meltzer said that Kennedy Jr.’s platform filled her with trepidation, knowing that there is already a reluctance among Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine due to the speed at which it was produced.
She cited a December 15 survey from Kaiser Family Foundation that revealed around a quarter of Americans state they ‘probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists’.
Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, 29, works as an internal medicine resident physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital
She said that those figures left herd immunity ‘unachievable’ if Dr Anthony Fauci’s predictions that 75 percent of the population would need to receive a vaccine are accurate.
‘I’m seeing the trend with my own patients,’ she wrote.
‘Two weeks ago, I convinced a 66-year-old woman to get her influenza vaccine for the first time in her life. But she said there is still no way she will take the Covid vaccine.’
Kennedy Meltzer continued to state that her uncle is overplaying the incidents of allergic reactions to the vaccine that have occured so far.
‘An anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine is a serious matter, no question,’ she wrote.
‘But it does not necessarily signal that the wider public is at risk.
‘The Pfizer vaccine was administered to more than 20,000 participants in clinical trials; 15,000 participants received the Moderna vaccine. Both trials concluded that the vaccines were safe.’
She highlighted how only 11 serious allergic reactions have been reported so far with around 2.1 million Americans vaccinated.
‘In comparison, a recent study showed 11 percent of all Americans have a food allergy and one quarter of them have been given an epinephrine prescription,’ she said.
‘This is normal, and no cause for alarm. Serious side effects of the Covid vaccine have been extraordinarily rare, but health care providers are aware of them, and are responding appropriately by monitoring vaccine recipients, especially those who have a history of allergies.
Kennedy Jr, the son of late Attorney General Robert F Kennedy and nephew of late President John F Kennedy, is a prominent anti-vaccine activist and has advocated that parents should choose whether or not they want their children immunized. Pictured center in August
Kennedy Jr.’s latest posts have focused on criticizing the coronavirus vaccines
He has asked how Dr Fauci and other experts have planned for further allergic reactions
‘This vaccine is our best opportunity to save lives,’ Kennedy Meltzer continued, as she detailed the hardship of her work during the pandemic, when she was stationed in the hospital system that had among the highest number of intubated patients of any health care center in the country.
‘There were times when I called my patients’ family members, and told them that their loved ones couldn’t talk because they needed an emergent breathing tube,’ she said.
‘I reached out over FaceTime to some of the same families when it was time to say goodbye to their loved ones.’
‘When the vaccine is offered to you, I urge you to take it,’ Kennedy Melzter concluded.
‘Do it for yourself, for your family and for your friends. Do it for your country.’
This is not the first time that Kennedy Jr. has been called out by his own family members.
In May 2019, his siblings, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Joseph P Kennedy II, and his niece, Maeve Kennedy McKean, authored an op-ed in Politico Magazine citing the rise of measles in the US and calling Kennedy Jr.’s opinions ‘tragically wrong’.
‘Robert F Kennedy Jr – Joe and Kathleen’s brother and Maeve’s uncle – is part of this campaign to attack the institutions committed to reducing the tragedy of preventable infectious diseases,’ they wrote.
‘He has helped to spread dangerous misinformation over social media and is complicit in sowing distrust of the science behind vaccines.’
At this time, he as sharing misinformation about the MMR vaccine despite the country at that point having the highest number of measles cases since the virus was deemed ‘eliminated’ in 2000.
Facebook has also taken action against Bobby after a study found his group World Mercury Project, now named Children’s Health Defense, was behind many of the ads spreading misinformation about vaccines.
The social media giant now uses fact checking on post about vaccines to tag them with a ‘warning label’, which led to Kennedy Jr. filing a lawsuit against them claiming censorship.
The environmentalist has railed against vaccine manufacturers for their use of thiomersal, a mercury compound in certain vaccines, claiming it is ‘poisoning’ children.
Thiomersal, however, is no longer used in US vaccines – except some versions of the flu shot – and hasn’t been proven to cause autism.
Kennedy Jr also said he wants to make sure ‘vaccines are subject to the same kind of safety scrutiny and safety testing that other drugs are subject to’ according to an August 2017 interview with STAT News.
But vaccines are under greater scrutiny and undergo more safety testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention than drugs do.
Dr. Fauci has repeatedly insisted that the coronavirus is safe. He has told skeptics who say it can’t be fool-proof because it was developed so quickly that the fast timeline was down to ‘extraordinary’ science and investment, not cutting corners.
He said that he would recommend to anyone to take it, especially if they were in a position of power, and that President Trump still should even though he had the virus in October.
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