We all know that celebrities love to get behind a cause. Jenny McCarthy is no different. When her son was diagnosed with autism she made it her life’s work. On the surface, it would seem that McCarthy was doing nothing but good by spreading autism awareness. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, she formed an alliance with Andrew Wakefield based on a paper he published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, claiming a link between the MMR vaccine, inflammatory bowel disease and autism. McCarthy made sure she spread the word, loud and clear, that vaccines are not safe and cause autism. Unfortunately for her and everyone who listened, The Lancet retracted the study they published in 1998 in February 2010. Then, just this week, it was announced that Andrew Wakefield was not only wrong; he has been found guilty of elaborate fraud. Will McCarthy continue to support this charlatan or will she admit that she has been duped?
McCarthy is a conspiracy theorist and one of Wakefield’s biggest supporters. She wrote the forward to his book Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines–The Truth Behind a Tragedy, where she states:
“I believe history will be very kind to Andy Wakefield…For hundreds of thousands of parents around the world, myself included, Andy Wakefield is a symbol of strength and conviction that all parents of children with autism can use to fight for truth and the best lives possible for their kids.”
I don’t have celebrity status that gives Jenny the ability to get her now debunked message across to an audience of millions like on Oprah, Larry King and in People Magazine. I have to keep fighting one blog entry at a time (along with many others)–hoping that we can turn the tide around. There are many like me but no one with McCarthy’s appeal. So even with all the evidence against her message, she is winning. The mainstream media is beginning to report the fraud and will hopefully continue to push this message. New generations of parents will hopefully never hear about Wakefield or McCarthy for that matter. I can dream, can’t I?
Many celebrities and parents backed Andrew Wakefield (Britain revoked his medical license so I refuse to refer to him as “Dr.”) and worldwide immunizations levels have yet to recover from the fear. Preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles are making a comeback thanks to the Wakefield/McCarthy alliance. McCarthy is on record saying:
“I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”
Where is her evidence coming from? How does she know they are unsafe? I sure hope it’s not because Andrew Wakefield said so.
I get it. Many parents want an answer as to why their child is autistic. I am at peace with my child’s diagnosis, but that does not mean that others should stop looking for an explanation. Time and time again we’ve seen that there is no link between vaccines and autism, so let’s stop wasting valuable resources. Maybe we, as parents, can focus our energy towards finding ways to communicate with and educate our children. There is an entire community of autistic adults willing to help. Let’s engage them and expand the conversation to more than causation and cure.
Delusional? Misguided? Desperate? Call it what you want, but McCarthy should apologize for scaring millions of parents from vaccinating their kids and then step down from the autism platform. Give it to someone who actually knows what he or she is talking about. If you are concerned about these issues, then listen to a vaccine expert like Dr. Paul Offit and check out his new book Deadly Choices (Watch out, now I’ve really pissed off the anti-vaccine folks). Let’s end this debate in the autism conversation and start to discuss quality of life issues. C’mon Jenny, I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say on that topic. And please don’t let it be about your new line of eco-bedding.