In an interview for the May issue of Good Housekeeping, actress Kristen Bell discussed how motherhood has changed her views on the anti-vaccination movement.
Bell, who has two daughters with actor Dax Shepherd, told the magazine it’s “unacceptable” that parents who refuse to vaccinate their children place those children in classrooms where kids could be vulnerable to disease.
“I’m very crunchy, and happily so,” Bell told GH about how her views changed when she became a mother. “But there is a lot of scientific, proven information out there that shows why vaccinations are necessary.”
Kids with autoimmune diseases, kids who are receiving cancer treatments — they can’t be vaccinated because their immune systems [can’t handle it]. If your kid has leukemia, he can’t get vaccinations; if he then goes to school with my kid and I chose not to give my kid vaccinations, I’m putting your kid at risk. To me, that’s unacceptable. There are the weak among us whom we have to protect. As moms, our responsibility is not just to our kids — it’s to all the other kids, too.
A February Los Angeles Times report gives credence to Bell’s fears: according to the report, some day schools in the Los Angeles area have vaccination rates as low as 51 percent. Nationwide, just 91 percent of children aged 12-23 months are vaccinated against the measles, according to the World Bank. An outbreak of measles in California late last year was linked to more than 100 cases across at least seven states.
“People often misplace fear,” Bell told GH. “Your child is 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a severe reaction to a vaccine. That’s a fact.”
In addition to her new feelings about vaccination, Bell, star of Showtime’s House of Lies and the upcoming Michelle Darnell, said that motherhood has changed her acting career.
“I’ve gotten off that treadmill of ‘Let me read the next script; I hope they give me a chance for this part,'” she explained. “I still want to do really good, creative work, but I’m not nervous about it, because I get my self-esteem from [providing for] my children now… In our house, we get our self-esteem from performing [kind], esteemable acts. When you’re feeling egotistical, our rule is that you have to drop it and help someone else.”
The actress also revealed that her children have not yet seen the hit animated movie Frozen, in which she voiced the heroine Anna.
“It’s a story about sisterhood, which, whether by blood or not, is this invisible line that pulls you to someone,” Bell told GH of the film. “I have it with my girlfriends; I have it with my stepsisters. It’ll be a special day years from now when I sit my daughters down and show them this movie.”
Check out the rest of Kristen Bell’s interview with Good Housekeeping here. The May 2015 issue is on newsstands now.
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