Bachmann Refuses to Walk Back HPV Vaccine Comments
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann refused to apologize for comments she made after this week’s CNN/Tea Party Express debate suggesting that a vaccine against a virus linked to cervical cancer poses a danger to young girls during a campaign stop with Tea Party supporters in California on Thursday morning, CBS news reports.
“During the debate, I didn’t make any statements that would indicate that I’m a doctor, I’m a scientist or that I’m making any conclusions about the drug one or another,” the Tea Party favorite told reporters in San Rafael, Calif.
Numerous political analysts said the Minnesota congresswoman scored big points during the debate with her attack on rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry for mandating vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (HPV), and also suggesting that Perry’s mandate was made in exchange for help from Merck, the vaccine’s manufacturer.
The problem began with Bachmann’s comments on NBC’s “Today Show” on Tuesday morning.
“I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate,” Bachmann said. “She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.”
When reporters asked Bachmann on Thursday whether she would apologize for comments that outraged medical experts say will discourage parents from getting their children immunized, Bachmann said: “Oh, I’m not going to answer that.”
Without mentioning Bachmann by name, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement on Tuesday seeking to “correct false statements made in the Republican presidential campaign that HPV vaccine is dangerous and can cause mental retardation,” it said.
Former Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins also piled on during a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” saying: “The quicker she admits she made a mistake, the better.”