Tennessee Rep.-elect Mark Green questions CDC data on vaccines, autism

Incoming Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green, a physician, suggested vaccines could cause autism during a town hall meeting with his constituents this week. Green, 54, also called into question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data regarding vaccines at the Tuesday event, the Tennessean reported. “Let me just say this about autism,” Green said. … Continue reading “Tennessee Rep.-elect Mark Green questions CDC data on vaccines, autism”

Incoming Tennessee Republican Rep. Mark Green, a physician, suggested vaccines could cause autism during a town hall meeting with his constituents this week.

Green, 54, also called into question the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data regarding vaccines at the Tuesday event, the Tennessean reported.

“Let me just say this about autism,” Green said. “I have committed to people in my community, up in Montgomery County, to stand on the CDC’s desk and get the real data on vaccines. Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.”

“As a physician, I can make that argument, and I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC if they really want to engage me on it,” he continued.

He said some of the CDC’s data has been “maybe fraudulently managed.”

Green’s remarks came in response to a question from a mother of a young adult with autism who asked about cuts to Medicaid funding, according to the Tennessean.

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A former state senator, Green was elected in November to represent Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, which Republican Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn currently represents.

He later told the newspaper that he “would encourage families to get vaccinated at this time,” as he has done with his own children.

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“There appears to be some evidence that as vaccine numbers increase, rates of autism increase,” Green said. “We need better research, and we need it fast. We also need complete transparency of any data. Vaccines are essential to good population health. But that does not mean we should not look closely at the correlation for any causation.”

According to the CDC, “there is no link between vaccines and autism.” The American Academy of Pediatrics, too, stresses “scientific evidence does not show any link between vaccines and autism” and provides guidelines for how to help hesitant parents.

Earlier this year, Green was President Trump's pick for Army secretary, but he ultimately withdrew his nomination after mounting criticism over remarks he's made about Muslim and gay Americans.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

NYC health officials ban unvaccinated kids from school amid measles outbreak in Orthodox Jewish community

Health officials in New York are requiring students who attend Jewish schools in certain zip codes to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine amid a measles outbreak that has sickened at least 39 children in the Orthodox Jewish community since October.

According to the New York City Department of Health, the outbreak stems from an unvaccinated child who contracted measles while on a trip to Israel, which is currently combating a viral outbreak of its own.

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“Effective Friday, December 7, every student attending a yeshiva in the below zip codes in Borough Park and Williamsburg who is not vaccinated with the required number of doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine will not be permitted to attend school, regardless of whether a case of measles has occurred in the school,” a Thursday letter sent by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said.

“Students cannot return to school until they are appropriately vaccinated, or until the outbreak is declared over, even if they have an approved religious or medical exemption to measles immunization,” the letter said. “If a person in your school develops measles, additional restrictions apply.”

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that is typically rare in the United States due to available vaccines, but is still relevant in Europe, Asia and Africa. It can be spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and can remain active on surfaces for up to two hours.

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The letter stated that children attending day care and pre-kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year are required to obtain one dose of the MMR vaccine, while those attending kindergarten through 12th grade are required to get two doses.

“Students who are sick with measles must stay home from daycare or school until the 5th day after rash onset, as advised by the Health Department,” the letter stated.

Officials said it will be on the principals or directors to enforce the requirements. Affected zip codes include 11204, 11205, 11206, 11211, 11218, 11219, 11220, 11230, 11249.

Missouri nurse fired for refusing flu shot over religious beliefs, protesters claim

A group of protesters gathered outside of Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis Monday to protest the hospital’s policy that requires employees to receive a flu shot, claiming at least one nurse at the facility was fired after she refused to be vaccinated, citing religious reasons.

Nelia Aubuchon, who organized the protest, told Fox 2 a nurse at Mercy Hospital South was terminated after she requested an exemption from the policy on religious grounds. The hospital allegedly refused to grant the nurse’s request and terminated her shortly after, Aubuchon told the news station.

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"Mercy has a policy that says that they accept religious and medical exemptions and yet, in practice, it appears that they are not accepting them; they're denying them,” Aubuchon told the news station, though she wouldn't identify the nurse who was allegedly fired.

"Here at Mercy South, this nurse knows of no other doctor or nurse who actually was granted their religious or medical exemption and, frankly, here we're focused on the religious exemption because this nurse chose rather than being coerced in receiving the shot,” she added.

Aubuchon wrote on Facebook the protest was not about the “efficacy of flu shots [or] mists or a pro or anti-vaccines conversation.” Rather, she explained, “It's about Mercy's denial of ALL religious and medical exemptions for their employees and their draconian measure of terminating those who will not give in to their policy. Mercy Hospital denied ALL doctor and religious leader signed exemption paperwork.”

She also argued the policy constitutes as religious discrimination and violates employees' personal rights.

But Bethany Pope, a spokesperson for Mercy Hospital South, told Fox News the hospital approved “the majority” of the 170 exemption requests it received this year — many of which were “accepted for meeting valid medical or religious exemption criteria.”

In total, the Mercy Health System employs more than 44,000 people, according to Pope.

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“The point of our flu vaccination policy is simple: protection against the flu virus saves lives, especially those of our most vulnerable patients. Requiring health care co-workers to be vaccinated for the flu is a best practice across the U.S. to ensure the safety of patients, co-workers and community members. Mercy revised our flu vaccination policy several years ago and requires compliance with the policy by all Mercy co-workers as a condition of employment,” Pope said.

“Those co-workers whose exemption requests were not accepted will be notified this week and, in accordance with our policy, will not be permitted to remain employed without receiving a vaccination. This is an important step in protecting our patients, visitors and co-workers,” she added, noting the hospital's policy regarding a mandatory flu shot is the same “as most hospitals across the country.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.