Republican Tennessee Rep-elect Mark Green pushed anti-vaccine myths at a town hall in the Nashville area this week.
During the event, a constituent with autism asked Green about maintaining her Medicaid coverage but Green went on a tangent decrying vaccines and accusing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a coverup.
“Let me say this about autism. 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,” Green said in the video. “Because there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.”
Green cited his “medical” credentials, pointing out that he got a medical degree at Wright State University and worked as the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company that staffs health providers.
“As a physician, I can make that argument,” Green said. “I can look at it academically and make the argument against the CDC, if they really want to engage me on it.”
Green tries to walk back comments, but still pushes anti-vaxxer talking point:
“Recent comments I made at a town hall regarding vaccines has been misconstrued. I want to reiterate my wife and I vaccinated our children, and we believe, and advise others they should have their children vaccinated,” Green told Roll Call after the video went viral.
But in an interview with The Tennessean, Green insisted that “more research definitely needs to be done.”
“Parents should vaccinate their children, but more research definitely needs to be done,” he 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.”
The CDC states that “studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing” autism.