Tag: celebrities

Celebrities Who Advocate For Vaccines

Some of the first celebrities to advocate for vaccines did so to help combat polio.

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In 1954, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz asked everyone to “give every dime and dollar” they could spare to fight 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.

  • Kristen Bell
  • Ewan McGregor
  • John Oliver
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Olivia Wilde
  • Amada Peet
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • David Beckham
  • Keri Russel
  • Julie Bowen
  • Serena Williams
  • Salma Hayek
  • Christy Turlington Burns
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Kristi Yamaguchi
  • Marc Anthony
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Kendra Wilkinson
  • 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.

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Oprah on 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.”

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Celebrities Who Appear to Be Anti-Vaccine

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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:

  • Jenny McCarthy
  • Jim Carrey
  • Rob Schneider
  • Kristin Cavallari
  • Bill Maher
  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Mayim Bilik
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Holly Robinson Peete
  • Chuck Norris
  • Lisa Bonet
  • Billy Corgan
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Jenna Elfman
  • Selma Blair
  • Esai Morales
  • Robert De Niro
  • Kirstie Alley
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin
  • Toni Braxton
  • Melissa Leo
  • Brent Spiner
  • Aidan Quinn
  • Joe Rogan
  • Doug Flutie

Why? Several have autistic kids and they blame vaccines.

And perhaps even worse, are the celebrities who give them a platform to voice their anti-vaccine views, including Oprah, Donahue, Larry King, and Ricki Lake, etc.

For More Information On Celebrities Who Appear to Be Anti-Vaccine

Bill Maher on Vaccines

Bill Maher is well known for his anti-vaccine views.

On his own show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and when appearing on other shows, he has said that:

  • A flu shot is the worst thing you can do. (Larry King Live)
  • I don’t believe in vaccination either.
  • Measles is not really that deadly a disease.
  • 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.”

For More Information on Bill Maher:

Larry King on Vaccines

Most pediatricians can remember the increase in calls to their office from scared parents after these Larry King Live shows, such as when:

  • Bill Maher appeared in 2005 saying the flu shot is dangerous because it contains mercury and that getting  “a flu shot is the worst thing you can do”
  • Jenny McCarthy appeared in April 2008 to discuss vaccines and autism
  • Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey appeared in April 2009 to discuss vaccines and autism

Like Oprah and some others, Larry King has provided a high profile platform for many anti-vaccine celebrities and “to promote anti-vaccine pseudoscience.”

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Vaccines

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
  • appeared at the Green Our Vaccines Rally with Jenny McCarthy
  • written a book – Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: Mercury Toxicity in Vaccines and the Political, Regulatory, and Media Failures That Continue to Threaten Public Health

It shouldn’t be a surprise that people call him an anti-vaxxer.

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References:
MMWR. Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Immunizations, and MMWR — 1961–2011. October 7, 2011 / 60(04);49-57.

Jenny McCarthy and Vaccines

Jenny “I am not anti-vaccine” McCarthy and her positions on vaccines are very clear to everyone, except maybe herself.

How can she say that she is not anti-vaccine when she has said that:

It’s not my fault. The reason why they’re not vaccinating is because the vaccines are not safe. Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.

That was on the Larry King Show in 2009.

Of course, during appearances on Oprah and other shows, she has said many other dangerous things that make her sound anti-vaccine.

But it is important to note that some think that her promotion of unproven and dangerous, quack biomed “treatments” for autism are even worse than the way she has scared people away from vaccines.

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