As I’ve discussed previously, I find the anti-vaccine movement, linking cases of autism to pediatric vaccinations, to be based on pseudoscientific principles. There are several individuals that have pushed this quackery, but one of the more visible is Jenny McCarthy, ex-Playboy Playmate of the Year (no, I’m not going to link to it), bad actress, and failed game-show host. I am flabbergasted, befuddled, and generally gobsmacked that anyone would listen to this woman, a scientific illiterate, about anything outside of how to model and possibly how to choose a career in bad movies. That parents are making decisions about vaccinating their children based on her bogus beliefs is beyond my simple understanding of the world. I guess if you get an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, you have power!
However, there are always consequences to every action, and there are many by delaying or refusing vaccinations. The Jenny McCarthy Body Count is a website that lists every vaccine-preventable case and death that has occurred since Jenny made public her belief that vaccines caused autism in her son (which many believe is a misdiagnosis) in June 2007. Since then, there have been
142, oops, I mean 866 preventable deaths (as of today). (As an aside, I had taken a screenshot of the Body Count three years ago to make a presentation, and the number was 142. It is horrifying that the number has increased 7X since then.) As the website says, she’s not responsible for everyone one of these cases or deaths. But if she convinces just one person to not adhere to a vaccine schedule for their children, then it’s one too many.
This body count, and Jenny McCarthy’s involvement, would be funny in any other context. Children contracting diseases that can be easily prevented, with few or any side effects, is irresponsible and abusive. An 18 month old child cannot decide whether they receive a vaccination or not, so we must rely upon well-informed parents to make certain it happens. The anti-vaccine movement, based on junk science, causes harm.
And remember, the counter for the number of children who have been diagnosed with autism that has been linked to vaccinations remains at 0.
Time to return to your movies Jenny.