Pediatricians do know a lot about vaccines. What they may not know is how to counter every anti-vaccine argument that you might have heard of, read about, or with which one of your family members is scaring you.
“Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
You can rest assured that these arguments have all been debunked, often many years ago, but they keep coming up, over and over again. In fact, today’s anti-vaccine movement uses many of the same themes as folks used when the first vaccines were introduced over one hundred years ago.
Some of the first celebrities to advocate for vaccines did so to help combat polio.
From Grace Kelly to Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, stars lined up to support the efforts of the March of Dimes to end polio, with celebrity comedian Eddie Cantor leading the way.
Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Red Skelton, Johnny Cash, Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and many others were a part of the Polio Crusade.
Before that though, there were celebrities that were working to fight smallpox. Celebrities of the time like Lewis Carroll, who is best known for writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
There are, not surprisingly, many pro-vaccine celebrities now too.
Christy Turlington Burns
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Marissa Jaret Winokur
And like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the 1950s, many are working with organizations to help fight vaccine-preventable diseases and protect children.
Many, like Ewan McGregor and Salma Hayek, work with UNICEF.
Others promote flu vaccines, combat pertussis, or simply fight the anti-vaccine misinformation that is that out there.
For More Information On Celebrities Who Advocate For Vaccines:
I don’t know how Oprah feels about vaccines or much of anything else.
What I do know is that a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show show can get the phones ringing at most pediatrician’s offices across the country – and not in a good way. The calls are from parents who all of a sudden have become scared to vaccinate their kids.
Her choices of celebrities to have on her show and the message about vaccines they gave to parents is just another example of the Oprah effect.
Unfortunately, in getting kids vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, the effect likely wasn’t so golden.
From hosting Jenny McCarthy to Dr. Christine Northrop, she has been “of the most potent forces in America for the undermining of critical thinking and science-based medicine in existence.”
Very few people like to say that they are anti-vaccine.
Even the people who obviously are, often say that they aren’t.
They instead say that they are pro-safe vaccine or pro-vaccine choice or something.
Most have repeatedly said that they have delayed or skipped one or more vaccines though, which puts kids at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. But what really makes them anti-vaccine is that they often push misinformation that scares other people from getting vaccinated.
Those celebrities who appear to be the most anti-vaccine include:
I don’t understand why this is controversial? Why we have this emotional debate about something that—there is science there. It astounds me that liberals, who are always suspicious of corporations… and defending minorities, somehow when it comes to this minority that’s hurt, it’s like, ‘You know what? Shut the fuck up and let me take every vaccine that Merck wants to shove down my throat.’
I’ve never argued that vaccines don’t work. I just don’t think you need them… (Playboy interview)
Although he often says that he is not anti-vaccine, it is easy to see that Maher is hitting many classic anti-vaccine talking points, including that vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t that bad (they can be, in fact, deadly), that vaccines injuries aren’t rare, and that vaccines aren’t necessary.
Maher also rejects the germ theory of disease that was first proposed by Louis Pasteur.
And in responding to critics of his views on vaccines, Bill Maher had this to say:
Now, sometimes its OK to fuck with nature — I believe “intelligent design” is often anything but intelligent; that “God’s perfect universe” is actually full of fuck ups and design flaws, like cleft lips and Down Syndrome — so correcting nature is sometimes the right thing to do. And then, sometimes its not. For me, the flu shot is in the “not” category.
As much as I dislike the high profile platform that he has to push his anti-vaccine views, the way he characterizes Down syndrome actually bothers me much more.
And that wasn’t even the only time he got into trouble talking about children with Down syndrome. In 2013, the National Down Syndrome Society and many others expressed their “deep disappointment and concern with your ongoing attacks on people who have Down syndrome.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the son of the late Robert Kennedy – President John F. Kennedy brother.
Some people will remember that President John F. Kennedy signed the Vaccination Assistance Act (Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act) in 1962, which was passed to “achieve as quickly as possible the protection of the population, especially of all preschool children…through intensive immunization activity over a limited period of time…” and which “remains one of the most important means of supporting health department immunization activities with federal funds.”
In contrast Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has pushed misinformation about mercury in vaccines that scares people away from getting vaccinated and protected.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has:
written a now retracted, “error-laced” expose in 2005 about vaccines and autism (Deadly Immunity) that appeared in both Salon and Rolling Stone