President Elect Donald Trump caused considerable alarm in the health care community when he summoned Robert Kennedy Jr to the Trump Tower and then appointed him to a vaccination safety panel. Unfortunately the younger RFK, nephew of President John F. Kennedy, is a leader of the so-called “anti-vaxxer” movement, which believes that a link exists between childhood vaccinations and autism. The theory was first posited in a 1998 article in the British medical journal Lancet. 12 years later Lancet was obliged to retract the article when it was revealed that the underling study was based on, at best, dodgy data and was funded by lawyers representing parents who claimed that their children were given autism by vaccines.

Nevertheless, an anti-vaccination movement has arisen, particularly among young millennial parents, afraid that the vaccines recommended for young children will cause them harm. As a result, many childhood diseases that had once thought to have been eradicated, including measles and the mumps, have come roaring back. Both of these diseases can permanently harm or even kill their young victims.

Trump has expressed sympathy for the idea of the anti-vaxxer movement, even before he ran seriously for president of the United States. That he seems to have retained those believes is causing alarm bells to ring. Health care professionals and local and state officials are having enough trouble persuading some parents to get their kids vaccinated.

The idea that the soon to be president of the United States is enabling anti-vaxxer parents is a matter of concern.

The science really is settled where it comes to a lack of a link between childhood vaccinations and autism. Even more important, vaccinations have been saving millions of lives ever since the first smallpox vaccine was developed in the 18th Century.

Indeed, it might be said that selecting RFK the younger to oversee a study of vaccination safety is the rough equivalent of choosing Bart Sibrel, the notorious Apollo moon landing hoax conspiracy theorist, to come up with ideas for the United States space program.

Trump is given to conspiracy theories. But unlike the Barack Obama birther nonsense, which was just annoying, anti-vaxxerism could cost lives.