On February 17, 2012 I wrote an article — When Doctors Fire Patients — that dealt with, among other things, the anti-vaccination efforts of some people — led by debunked semi-celebrity Jenny McCarthy — who believe childhood immunizations cause Autism even though there is, and has never been, any empirical medical proof for that claim.  When pressed for scientific evidence, the anti-vaccine believers simply talk about “mother’s intuition” and other nonsense that not only puts their non-immunized children at risk for disease, but the rest of society at risk as well as these unprotected children become certain carriers of diseases that should have been eradicated from the face of the earth.

When I wrote my original article, there was a website dedicated to the evil efforts of Jenny McCarthy and her ilk called JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com — that has now morphed into AntiVaccineBodyCount.com — and here is their latest count of Autism-inducing infant vaccinations:  Zero.

Here’s the original body count when the site was dedicated to Jenny McCarthy.

Also, of course — Zero! — cases.

All this sort of Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine nonsense got very reporting this week in the UK with a record 3,200 measles outbreak this year and last caused by parents who refused to vaccinate their infants:

This year, the U.K. has had more than 1,200 cases of measles, after a record number of nearly 2,000 cases last year. The country once recorded only several dozen cases every year. It now ranks second in Europe, behind only Romania.

The majority of those getting sick in the U.K. — including a significant number of older children and teens — had never been vaccinated. […]

Across the U.K., about 90 percent of children under 5 are vaccinated against measles and have received the necessary two doses of the vaccine. But among children now aged 10 to 16, the vaccination rate is slightly below 50 percent in some regions.

To stop measles outbreaks, more than 95 percent of children need to be fully immunized. In some parts of the U.K., the rate is still below 80 percent.

I’m not sure how we battle celebrity charlatans who think they are medical doctors when they are not and they abuse their fame and status to not only spread lies, but deadly lies at that.  If not for their celebrity, these people would never be heard in the din of a public forum, but because of their ubiquitousness, they have a certain power that influences numb minds with untruths that put all of society in danger.  How can we undo damage by a dedicated dagger?

When these celebrities are forever proven wrong — will they recant their lies and take back their previous damaging campaigns — or will they just continue to enjoy their faux popularity with the masses pretending that they never said anything of the sort and that even the most evil mistakes will one day be forgiven in the glow of a beautiful face that is never apologetic, but always apoplectic?

21 Comments

  1. David,

    It is heartbreaking to think of all of the perfectly preventable deaths that have been caused by this outrageous lie that has been perpetuated by McCarthy and company — and people keep on bringing up the study that was not only later withdrawn, but got the author of said study to lose his license as a result — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/health/policy/25autism.html . Study after study has found no link, yet celebrities keep spewing the lie as if it were the truth — and there seems to be no end in sight.

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  2. Thanks for writing this. This anti vaccination movement seemed to be starting when my daughter was about 3 (she’s now 16) I was just mortified that people might think NOT vaccinating their kids was a matter of parental choice and to vaccinate your child was putting them at serious risk. At that time I don’t think the link to autism was hinted at yet, so I wonder if this is something the anti vax group is just clinging to for now. In most states kids have to be vaccinated or they are unable to start school. Is this law changing or under reconsideration because of groups like this? Seems in matters of public health, it is a no brainer, I am not sure how people can get away with not vaccinating their kids. I am starting to hear more about this movement and it scares me.

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    1. Oh, there’s a whole mini-industry on getting “religious exemptions” for school vaccinations:

      http://www.vaclib.org/exemption.htm

      If that doesn’t work, then they turn to homeschooling to avoid their public nuisance.

      What the conspiracy-minded don’t realize is that they are not only putting their children at risk, but the entire rest of society — can you imagine if this mindset were active during the march to eradicate Small Pox from the face of the earth in the 1800s? No vaccine, and we’d still have that deadly pox on humankind:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/

      There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that infant immunizations cause anything other than a blanket protection for all of society — yet, somehow, these nuts are able to manipulate the system based on fantasy and a willful manipulation of the facts.

      Every time I see Jenny McCarthy on TV, I wonder how she can show her face to the world — and I also wonder why she isn’t retired, hiding at home, in shame, for the public health scare she pretty much singlehandedly set upon this nation.

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      1. I had never heard of Jenny McCarthy till now. What I didn’t like was how these crusaders would try to make me out to be some terrible mother for willingly subjecting my child to a deadly vaccine. And you are right, most of them were home schoolers and not of the extreme Christian right, intact almost the opposite – but then that is a whole other topic.

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        1. Jenny started life as a Playboy bunny. Then she had some awful TV show on MTV, I think. Now she kisses sailors in Times Square on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for ABC. Oh, and she used to be married to Jim Carrey:

          http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/jim-carrey-calls-jenny-mccarthy-claims-abandoned-autistic-son-unfortunate-article-1.1091017

          Yes, these wackos know just how to manipulate and intimidate to get their way — always by preaching their own persecution to anyone who will listen. They’re all paranoid claiming the government is trying to poison them with mandatory vaccinations.

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  3. Oh boy… just went to that first link and gave it a quick scan – many vaccine free friendly doctors are of the homeopathic persuasion. Which leads me down another rabbit hole… I have been contemplating finding a naturopath or homeopath for my son, who was diagnosed with kidney disease last year and placed on all kids of meds from prednisone to blood pressure meds and more I cant think of right now. It was all overwhelming and scary and given that I have lost a little faith in western medicine I’m not sure I would want to put him in the hands of a glorified herbalist either. So what is a person or the public to do when we are being told we can’t trust the western medical world and don’t always see any benefit from western medicine, but find it difficult to trust in natural remedies for real threats and real diseases? I can see how the green movement and the lean towards natural and organic could really cause a shift in the acceptance of vaccines. And yes, we do have science, history and hard evidence to support the need for vaccination, but too often the public can be swayed by pretty packaging and eco friendly vocabulary. Anyway, so sorry for the rant – an idea for one of your future posts?

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    1. I am with you on your concern and confusion.

      You need to look for “Integrative Medicine” when you look for hospitals and doctors — that’s the new healing.

      Dr. Ben Kligler saved my life in NYC years ago by changing my diet and helping me eat better and exercise. I was able to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol without medication:

      http://www.healthandhealingny.org/center/staff_kligler.asp

      You should have an easy time finding a good doctor where you live who is classically trained and forward thinking enough to know that a pill isn’t everything:

      http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine

      http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/alternative-medicine-integrative-medicine

      http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02054/Andrew-Weil-Integrative-Medicine.html

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      1. Well thank you so much for the links David. I really appreciate them I liked the article on Dr. Weil. I guess this would be good old-fashioned medicine. A common sense approach, integrating mind, spirit, body with meds if and when needed. In some of the research I have done, I was finding an all or nothing approach as well as good doctors who didn’t necessarily treat hard diseases but things like “general malaise”… You are so lucky to have found a doctor you can trust and had such wonderful results with. And Yes – there are PLENTY of naturaopaths and homeopaths in my area, many of the good ones not taking anymore patients. But luckily we have been managing ok on our own and my son is much better now that he is off the prednisone and watches his diet – anyway, thank you again for the links and for chatting a bit.

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        1. Dr. Weil is a great mind. I also like Dr. Ornish: http://www.pmri.org/dean_ornish.html And, of course, Dr. Chopra: http://www.chopra.com/about-us/deepak-chopra-md They are all genius minds coming together in creating a greater understanding about the ancient body and modern medicine.

          On the East Coast, the medical schools are a good place to look for Integrative Medicine and then try to get treated there:

          http://shrp.umdnj.edu/dept/primary_care/ICAM/

          http://weill.cornell.edu/ccim/

          http://integrativehealth.med.nyu.edu/

          In your area, try to do the same. Look for medical schools that teach Integrative Medicine and they can get you hooked into a doctor with a shared philosophy:

          http://www.uwmedicine.org/Search/Results.aspx?s=site&k=integrative+medicine

          http://www.seattleintegrativemedicine.com/

          http://www.pugetsoundintegrative.com/

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  4. I personally know of several people who have missed vital vaccines for one reason or another and have paid a heavy price – one man slightly older than me missed his polio shot – and has suffered ever since with both of his legs and one of his arms not being under proper control – another young lass missed her MMR and got measles while she was pregnant – her son was born handicapped.

    I had all my children vaccinated – it is done free under the UK health system and the local doctor does it, rather than the schools.

    I hope that the children suffereing with the measles are asking their parents WHY …………………..

    Is integrative the same as holisitc ???

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    1. Oh, my! The living example of the non-vaccinated! They should be put on display and then placed on national tour of the USA as a “told you so” lesson in not listening to the medical community.

      I’m so glad you immunized your children! That’s a great gift of modern medicine!

      I also hope the suffering children will one day ask their parents, “Why?”

      Integrative is like holistic — but I think holistic is more self-governance and non-prescriptive while integrative concentrates on behavior control, some medication, and a overall sculpting of modern medicine and old remedies like tea and meditation, but not really herbs and ointments.

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  5. The polio man would be up for it – the other lady still struggles with her burden.

    integrative sounds more scientific than holistic – I have found holisitc is only ever as good as the praticioner . I like my doctor here who mixed old an new for my abcess – modern antibiotics and the good old poultice for pulling the poison – a common sense approach.

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    1. Yes, I think there are a lot of “gimme a pill” doctor vs. patient relationships. Many patients want a pill solution and many doctors are happy to oblige to stay on schedule. However, there are some doctors today who don’t want to be pill pushers. They want to find new ways to heal the body with natural powers. When they find the right patients who are also willing to try the “non-pill” approach — except when absolutely necessary — the real magic begins to happen.

      With Dr. Kligler, my first session was the two of us closing our eyes and just breathing together. When he learned I was happy to try a non-pill approach to lowering my blood pressure, he taught me how to meditate and breathe and he did it right along with me in his medical office! It was mind-altering!

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  6. It’s so essential to get these vaccinations! It’s not just to protect yourself, but to protect people who come in contact with you! It makes me so angry when people are negligent about it. I remember reading a story about a month ago about a baby in Florida who died of whooping cough. The baby hadn’t been vaccinated– I’m not sure it was old enough or not– but he had contracted it from an adult, which means the adult hadn’t been either. It’s tragic for the child and irresponsible of the adults who should have been taking care of him.

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  7. UPDATE:

    Here we go!

    An outbreak of measles in North Texas has so far sickened 22 people, and public health officials are now drawing a connection between the flare-up and a local church whose leader reportedly advocated against childhood vaccinations and linked them to the development of autism.

    As far as health officials can discern, the outbreak started when a local, unvaccinated man returned from Indonesia, where measles remains prevalent. Having contracted the illness, he then spread it to several members of the Eagle Mountain International Church, located in Tarrant County, TX. From there, a handful of locals, ranging in age from 4 months old to 44, also contracted measles.

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/28/4667554/measles-outbreak-in-texas-linked-to-anti-vaccination-megachurch

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  8. Finally, the NYTimes steps forward to take on Jenny McCarthy’s on-the-record lies:

    For much of the past decade, McCarthy has been the panicked face and intemperate voice of a movement that posits a link between autism and childhood vaccinations and that badmouths vaccines in general, saying that they have toxins in them and that children get too many of them at once.

    http://boles.co/1jDloTz

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