Scott Gottlieb, who was announced late last week as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does not subscribe to the theory that vaccines cause autism, a widely-discredited claim which the president has historically promoted.
In a 2015 interview, Gottlieb told CNBC that theories of a connection between vaccines and autism had been “thoroughly debunked.”
“For too long, a lot of people’s public statements allowed these myths to propagate,” Gottlieb said during the interview. “They have said things like, ‘well, we don’t think there’s any correlation but we need more research.’ We don’t need more research. At some point, enough is enough.”
Notably, the FDA does not set the United States’ vaccination policy, rather, that is the responsibility of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Trump has not yet named his pick to head the CDC, though his recently appointed pick to head Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency under which CDC operates, remarked on vaccination policy in the U.S. this week.
HHS Secretary Tom Price declined to endorse universal vaccination during a CNN “Town Hall” on the Affordable Care Act this week, instead saying only that vaccine regulations should be left up to states.
“Dr. Price, you’re a physician,” commented Wolf Blitzer, one of the town hall’s co-hosts. “You believe in immunizations; you believe all children should get a shot for polio and other diseases.”
“I believe it’s a perfectly appropriate role… for government—this happens by and large at the state government level, because they’re the ones that have public health responsibility—to determine whether or not immunizations are required for a community population,” said Price.
Currently, vaccination requirements for school children are established at the state level based on recommendations researched and provided by the CDC.