A doctor who was profiled by The New York Times for his close personal and professional relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton has expressed skepticism about vaccines and touted research that found a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.
Dr. Mark Hyman most recently expressed those skeptical views in a book he co-wrote with Robert Kennedy Jr. titled: “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak.”
In the book and in a recent TV appearance on “Dr. Oz,” Hyman and Kennedy expressed concern that the mercury in thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, is associated with autism, developmental delays and certain illnesses.
That belief is considered controversial in the medical community.
While Hyman has claimed that he is not a so-called “anti-vaxxer,” he has questioned whether people should get the flu vaccine and has supported the theory that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) can cause autism and other issues.
A recent outbreak of measles has thrust the nation into a conversation about vaccinations. Naturally, the issue became political after President Obama, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were asked their thoughts on the matter.
Christie’s and Paul’s statements that they wanted to preserve some amount of freedom for parents generated massive outcry and accusations that conservatives are fueling anti-vaccination sentiment.
Though Christie and Paul did question a vaccination mandate on philosophical terms, it is Clinton who has more personal associations with vaccination skeptics and anti-vaxxers.
In 2008, both Clinton and then-Sen. Obama told the anti-vaccination group Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning that they supported the removal of thimerosal from all vaccines. (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Wanted To Investigate Link Between Vaccinations And Autism)
The Daily Beast provided another link when it reported on Wednesday that a wealthy couple who run a million-dollar anti-vaccination charity donated heavily to the “Ready for Hillary” campaign. Bill Clinton has attended two events at the couples’ Virginia mansion.
And the relationship with Hyman indicates that the prominent Democrat has closer ties to those holding anti-vaccination views than any of her potential Republican challengers.
For her part, Clinton did embrace a pro-vaccination position in a tweet sent out Monday.
In its profile, The Times reported that Hyman, who heads the Institute for Functional Medicine in New York, first met the former First Lady at a fundraiser while she was in the U.S. Senate.
Soon after, she introduced Hyman to husband Bill — a “gift” for the couples’ 30th wedding anniversary.
Hyman helped the former president following his 2004 quadruple bypass. He also convinced him to drop the vegan diet a previous doctor had prescribed.
Hyman also told The Times that he makes house calls for only two couples: the King and Queen of Jordan and the Clintons.
The former president has sang Hyman’s praises and recommends the physician to friends.
The relationship appears to extend beyond mere medical advice.