Jenny McCarthy: When Views are Dangerous

July 20, 2013
Shot@Life colleague Frank Gilbert and I in Washington, D.C. 

One of the many liberties of being an American citizen, is freedom of speech.  I believe everyone has the right to believe as they choose, and without fear of retribution for voicing their beliefs.  As a journalist, I am privileged to write at least once a week on varying topics with very little public backlash.  My intentions as a writer is to not persuade my readers to follow my beliefs, but inspire them to find their own.  The past few days social media has been abuzz with talk about The View hiring Jenny McCarthy.  As a champion for the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign, I shuttered.  When you advocate for vaccine access you don’t want or need a staunch anti-vaccine spokesperson in mainstream media.   

Jenny McCarthy
Photo Credit: AP/Victoria Will

In my personal opinion, she is actress who wanted to be perceived as a medical expert.  She spewed propaganda and altered public opinion regarding vaccine protocol with no scientific evidence to back up her claim.  That is just my opinion, and we all know the old saying, opinions are like $%^@!
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#, everyone has one.  I have read piece after piece chastising The View for hiring her, and that makes me equally uneasy.  I am a writer, and I don’t believe in censorship.  Jenny McCarthy can vaccinate herself and her own children at her personal discretion.  Instead of creating a public outcry to have her terminated, why don’t we call on the public to educate themselves?  I feel she is exploiting her position as a celebrity to promote anti-vaccination, when she is not a trained medical professional.  Where is the line drawn between someone exercising their right to free speech and posing a potential national threat?  

Germs do not carry passports, and unvaccinated populations are at risk.   
The Journal of Infectious Disease documented the costs of a single measles outbreak in Arizona.  It was tracked down to one unvaccinated individual entering the U.S..  The financial burden was nearly $800,000, and seven individuals contracted measles.  Measles is a vaccine preventable disease, these costs were completely unnecessary.  Americans often forget about diseases such as polio, whooping cough, and Hepatitis A and B because they are routinely vaccinated against them here.  Did you know there was an outbreak of an multidrug resistant strain of tuberculosis in Wisconsin recently?  The story was lost amidst mainstream media.  You can read more here. The City had to ask the state for nearly 5 million dollars to manage the outbreak.  

It is easy to take for granted the efficacy and availability of vaccines.  People forget that germs travel faster and more efficiently than people.
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  I have a good friend who is a pilot.  He frequently messages me during his travels.  In the past month I have gotten messages from South Africa, Hong Kong, Italy, China, Great Britain, and Canada.  I am sure there are a few countries I have neglected to mention.  He might be in Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Fairbanks all in a 24 hour span.
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  How easy would it be for him to spread a contagious disease?  Vaccines should not be treated as a luxury.  Vaccines have saved countless lives, unimaginable medical expenses, and numerous hours of medical man power. In the 2020 period of the coronavirus outbreak, a vaccine is certainly needed now more than ever as this unprecedented situation is claiming lives and livelihoods alike. Businesses are going under in many industries and the economies of the world are suffering as a result. Hopefully a cure will emerge soon but, in the meantime, businesses are doing all they can to stay afloat, including seeking out small business help for financial assistance through these trying times. 

The Panic Virus
Photo Credit: Seth Mnookin 

The greatest threat to man kind, is the one that we don’t perceive as possible.  Educate yourself by reading peer reviewed journals and talking to medical professionals.  A great resource regarding vaccine safety and the alleged autism-vaccine connection is Seth Mnookin‘s book The Panic Virus. I strongly advise you to do your own research when deciding about vaccines or any other potentially life altering decision.  You have more than the freedom to choose, you have the freedom to educate yourself!  I hope The View and Jenny McCarthy both take their duties to the American public seriously.  Public platforms and celebrity status shouldn’t be used to jeopardize public health.  We are blessed with the privilege of free speech but we should always be mindful of the harm it might cause.  

Happy Sunny Saturday,


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