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Medicine Science

Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'" 588

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jenny McCarthy is claiming she has been misunderstood and is not anti-vaccine. In an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, McCarthy tries to ignore everything she's been saying about vaccines for years and wipe the record clean. 'People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines,' McCarthy told Time magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger in 2009. 'Please understand that we are not an anti-vaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.' But Kluger points out that McCarthy left the last line out of that quotation: 'If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f--king measles.' That missing line rather changes the tone of her position considerably, writes Phil Plait and is a difficult stance to square with someone who is not anti-vaccine. As Kluger points out, her entire premise is false; since vaccines don't cause autism, no one has to make the choice between measles (and other preventable, dangerous diseases) and autism. Something else McCarthy omitted from her interview with Kluger: '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,' said McCarthy. 'If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it's their f*cking fault that the diseases are coming back. They're making a product that's sh*t. If you give us a safe vaccine, we'll use it. It shouldn't be polio versus autism.' Kluger finishes with this: 'Jenny, as outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough continue to appear in the U.S.—most the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children because of the scare stories passed around by anti-vaxxers like you—it's just too late to play cute with the things you've said.' For many years McCarthy has gone on and on and on and on and on and on about vaccines and autism. 'She can claim all she wants that she's not anti-vax,' concludes Plait, 'but her own words show her to be wrong.'"
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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

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  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:00AM (#46746197) Journal
    They stopped using Thimerosol because of public pressure; not because of any scientific reason. The mercury level in a dose of a vaccine is less than the amount you might get from eating a tuna steak.
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:03AM (#46746225) Journal
    The claims themselves come from a single medical paper published in the late 90's that was eventually proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been a deliberate fraud. The reason for the fraud was to promote a competing vaccine by sowing doubt in the saftey of the existing vaccine formula. Jenny IS the (minor, soft porn) celebrity whoring her intelectual honesty for attention and profit.
  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:20AM (#46746389)

    The mercury level in a dose of a vaccine is less than the amount you might get from eating a tuna steak.

    It's also in a different form - fish contain methylmercury, which is extremely toxic, while thimerosol is metabolized to ethylmercury, which isn't something you want to have a lot of in your system, but isn't as awful.

  • Re:Bloody Idiot (Score:5, Informative)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian,bixby&gmail,com> on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:31AM (#46746497)

    Actually the death rate from measles is 0.1% (US) to 10% (undernourished populations). The risk of complications is much higher than those figures.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @09:51AM (#46746711)

    Here's something for a start, from the British Medical Journal:

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:01AM (#46746837) Journal

    " I had mercury fillings in my teeth when I was younger, which I was then told was poisonous and had to be drilled out and replaced. Very pleasant."

    Whoever told you that was misinformed or lying (maybe they wanted to profit by drilling them out and replacing them). Your fillings weren't "mercury". Your fillings were mercury/silver amalgam. An amalgam is an alloy that forms when mercury reacts chemically with silver. An alloy is a stable chemical compound. It does not spontaneously decompose into its constituents. If it did, your fillings would have dissolved and disappeared long ago.

    Yes, when amalgam fillings are first placed you are exposed to some mercury vapor. That is why the ADA recommends that amalgam fillings should not be placed in small kids or pregnant women.

    Amalgam is a very durable, long lasting restorative material that has been in use for over 100 years. Amalgam restorations normally last much longer than alternative materials such as tooth colored composites which require frequent maintenance/replacement. Did they tell you about that before they drilled out all your "mercury" fillings?

    For the ADA position see latest info summarized here: []
    The summary on page 2 says:
    "In the six years since the LSRO report was published the identified research gaps have
    not been completely addressed. However a number of studies have added to the
    growing body of literature on the topic of amalgam safety. The findings of the studies
    published between January 1, 2004 and June 15, 2010 showed no consistent evidence
    of harm associated with dental amalgam fillings, including for infants and children. There
    is some evidence that mercury excretion may be affected by gender. There was no
    evidence demonstrating that some individuals are genetically susceptible to harmful
    effects from exposure to the low doses of mercury associated with dental amalgam
    fillings. Overall, studies continue to support the position that dental amalgam is a safe
    restorative option for both children and adults. When responding to safety concerns it is
    important to make the distinction between known and hypothetical risks. "

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:15AM (#46747015)

    Won't cite the retracted Wakefield article, but here is the BMJ debunking of it, along with an editorial short version.

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:20AM (#46747081) Homepage Journal

    " Why bother nit-picking nuances or perceived contradictions in wording."

    Ain't shit perceived. It's plain as fucking day to anyone who's read her bullshit diatribes over the years.

    She's trying to pull back the bullshit she's said.

    " Her general position that she is not against vaccines in general but only against un-safe vaccines is a valid position."

    No, it's back-tracking on her own shilled and uninformed LIES.

    " The only issue is: Are existing vaccines safe and could they be made safer? All else is nonsense."

    Son, we were using MERCURY-BASED VACCINES for decades. I'll guarantee you McCarthy had some of those very vaccines.

    This is pure hypocrisy and back-tracking because her ass has been caught in the biggest lie she's ever lived.

    Whomever modded you up isn't very bright.

  • by azav ( 469988 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:33AM (#46747227) Homepage Journal

    The problem is herd immunity.

    If those people are within our "herd" and one of their kids gets infected with ebola-marburg-plague-mumps-pox, then they become a disease transmission vector to the rest of the herd.

    And in that case, everyone who comes in contact with them becomes exposed to it and those who have not yet been immunized against ebola-marburg-plague-mumps-pox, run the risk of getting infected.

    Now, if that was polio, you get crippled and paralyzed.
    If that was mumps, there is no treatment, you suffer and hopefully don't get an additional disease (30% testicular atrophy).
    If that was measles, you get a 4 day whole body rash and a fever up to 104F (40C)
    If that was rubella, it's similar to measles, but slightly less severe.
    If that was varicella, well that's chicken pox and we mostly know what fun that's like. Plus possible scarring for life if the pix is severe + shingles later on in life.

    We all know what little disease transmission factories kinder gardens are.

    The parent who doesn't vaccinate their kids exposes everyone's kids (and their parents) to infection.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:27AM (#46747793)

    "A European schedule"?

    You are aware that Europe contains a great many countries, right?

    And that some countries (e.g. Belgium, Bulgaria) in Europe run faster schedules (vaccinations at 2, 3, and 4 months) than the USA does (which does vaccinations at 2, 4, and 6 months).

    Here's a handy summary of Europe's vaccine schedules []. Compare it to the USA's schedule [].

  • Re:Has this changed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by the phantom ( 107624 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @11:42AM (#46747961) Homepage
    The CDC recommended vaccination schedule is easy to find [], and contains a "Common Core" of vaccinations (your list, plus a couple more---this is not much, much longer than your list). Of those on the list, the only one that is not obviously part of building herd immunity is the Tetanus vaccine, though given how nasty Tetanus can be to an individual and how effective the vaccine is, it seems like an obvious choice to me.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:05PM (#46748149)

    In order for this to be dishonest she'd have to say things without believing it

    There's also dishonesty in talking with great conviction about a subject you have inadequate knowledge of.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:21PM (#46748309) Journal

    I don't understand what you and JM mean by "safer" versions of the vaccines. What data do you have to support the supposed lack of safety of the vaccines?

    If you had measles and mumps and it was no big deal, you were lucky. There are many who are not so lucky. You are making the same mistake JM does- equating a single data point- your personal experience- to a generalized experience. Science/public health doesn't work that way.

    I suggest you look up the potential problems caused by measles, mumps, and the other diseases we vaccinate against before you make statements about how it is better for people to get the diseases than to be vaccinated. These will get you started: [] [] []

    Ignorance is a choice. Smart people recognize their ignorance and attempt to rectify it. Stupid people choose to remain ignorant. Which are you?

  • by Yakasha ( 42321 ) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:45PM (#46749785) Homepage
    But I might have one.

    Plait wondered:

    Also, botulinum is the single most lethal toxin known to humans. Yet McCarthy has enthusiastically praised injecting this toxin into her face. How can anyone possibly say that and also say vaccines have dangerous levels of toxins in them with a straight face?

    Partial facial paralysis. Duh.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury