- screenshot, vaxxed
LaHood’s appearance in a video last month produced by the skeptics behind Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe, a recent documentary that builds on the work of the disgraced scientist who’s been instrumental in propagating the long-debunked tie between vaccines and the developmental disorder, drew strong condemnation from the medical community and even triggered joint statements by city, county and state public health officials decrying LaHood’s stance on vaccines. In the at times emotional video, LaHood and his wife, Davida, say their young son and daughter suffer from health problems that they now believe were caused by childhood vaccines.
LaHood says in his video that, as a lawyer, he'd "be very comfortable trying this case proving that vaccines have a strong factor in causing autism.” If he tried, he probably wouldn't use the kind of medical experts and researchers that lawyers like LaHood typically call to testify in court. The idea that vaccines cause autism dates back to a small 1998 study published in the medical journal The Lancet that involved 12 patients who, after receiving the MMR vaccine, started to show signs of what appeared to be autism. While other researchers were skeptical of the study from the beginning, the paper by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield was enough to scare a wave of parents in Great Britain and the United States away from vaccines. Wakefield has been credited as the director of the Vaxxed documentary, which LaHood in turn credits with helping push him into the anti-vaccine camp.
So, San Antonio’s top law enforcement official, the man voters have tasked with prosecuting anyone accused of a crime or securing justice for victims, believes that the decades of research and overwhelming scientific consensus that vaccines are safe are part of a grand “deception” that has been “promulgated on us as a community, even by our own damn government.”
While LaHood’s anti-vaccination preaching made him an even more controversial figure here, the fact that he’s now appearing on a “celebrity keynote” panel alongside some of the most recognizable and influential anti-vax prophets, like Jenny McCarthy and Del Bigtree, who produced Vaxxed, could be sign of just how important LaHood’s statements have made him to the movement.