"Smallpox Vaccine" by CDC / Public Domain

Anti-vaccine advocates appointed to Minnesota autism council after measles outbreak

Jan 30, 2019

By Beth Mole

Officials in Minnesota have appointed anti-vaccine advocates to a newly formed state council on autism, sparking controversy in the wake of a record measles outbreak in the state.

State senator Jim Abeler formed the MN Autism Council last fall to address issues surrounding autism, including “treatment, educational options, employment opportunities, independent living, and more.”  While about one in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the rate in Minnesota is one in 42.

Though the council is not designed to take up the issue of vaccination, it has been ensnared in controversy due to the anti-vaccine sentiments it includes, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. At least two of the council’s more than 30 members are skeptical of vaccine safety and oppose compulsory immunizations. One of those skeptical members, Wayne Rohde, was one of three initial people Abeler appointed to the council. Rohde was charged with helping to shape the council and with picking other members.

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2 comments on “Anti-vaccine advocates appointed to Minnesota autism council after measles outbreak

  • I see there are deaths and disease elsewhere in the world, as a result of ignorance and scaremongering by pseudo-science conspiracy theorists!


    Authorities in the Philippines have declared an outbreak of the highly contagious measles virus in several areas including the capital, Manila.

    As of 26 January there have been 1,813 measles cases and 26 deaths, according to the Department of Health Epidemiology Bureau. That is a 74% increase from 2018.

    There is now increasing concern for the 2.4 million unvaccinated children.

  • There is clearly a need for a wider proper understanding of the benefits of vaccinations and herd immunity!

    Measles cases in Europe tripled between 2017 and 2018 to 82,596 – the highest number recorded this decade, data from the World Health Organization shows.
    While vaccination rates are improving, the WHO says coverage is not high enough to prevent circulation of the virus in many countries.

    Ukraine reported the highest number of measles cases last year – more than 10 times that of the next highest, Serbia.

    Over 90% of cases were in 10 countries, including France, Italy and Greece.

    There were 72 deaths from measles in Europe in 2018 compared with 42 in 2017.

    There are country by country details on the link.


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