Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Truth serum needed for incorrect vaccine claim

GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann linked HPV vaccine and mental retardation in an interview on the Today Show. But is there science to back it up?
GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann linked HPV vaccine and mental retardation in an interview on the Today Show. But is there science to back it up?

After criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry for mandating a vaccine for school girls, Rep. Michele Bachmann added some scary charges: She claimed to have just met a woman whose daughter suffered mental retardation from the vaccine, that it has "very dangerous consequences" and that it puts "little children's lives at risk."

"There's a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine. There are very dangerous consequences. It's not good enough to take, quote, 'a mulligan' where you want a do-over, not when you have little children's lives at risk," Bachmann said.

We can't judge the specifics of that case -- the woman has not been identified as far as we could find. But even if Bachmann's portrayal is accurate, it falls well short of the scientific standard for demonstrating causality between an inoculation and an adverse health event. We fact-checked the claim and rated it False. Read our full report.