AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Though bills dealing with vaccinations on both sides of the discussion haven’t moved far into the legislative process at the Texas legislature, the overall discussion on exemptions and parental choice drew the son of late U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy to Texas.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke at an event hosted by Texans for Vaccine Choice at the Texas State Capitol Friday. Kennedy is an environmental lawyer and has previously been described as a “vaccine skeptic.” He’s also reported to be one of the lawyers on a case where five mothers are suing to vacate orders in New York City mandating measles vaccinations for people living in ZIP codes that have seen an outbreak of the disease, according to the ABA Journal.
“Things have changed a lot since I was a kid,” he said. “I was fully compliant and I vaccinated all my kids. I think I would do things very differently if I could go back.”
Kennedy said he was in Texas to meet with lawmakers to discuss his views and concerns about vaccinations. Several Republican lawmakers testified at the event alongside Kennedy.
“I wanted to meet with the Democrats, I think, because of my family and legacy — that those are the people that would hopefully and would be most likely to listen,” he said.
During the event, Kennedy criticized the media and health agencies overseeing vaccine regulations.
However, Republican State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, feels the concerns over vaccinations is misguided.
“What the problem is in our society at this point is we’ve had vaccines for so long and they’ve done such a good job, people have no understanding of how bad these diseases were in the day and time and how deadly some of them were,” he added.
Leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated late April there were more than 700 cases of measles from 22 states. It recommends vaccines as a preventative measure for that and other diseases.
The legislative session ends May 27.