Former Playmate of the Year and eminent immunologist Jenny McCarthy has used her celebrity — obtained as nearly as I can tell simply by removing her clothes — to hold forth on the subject of vaccinating children against infectious disease.
The recent outbreak of measles, a disease that should be a thing of the past, suggests that there are parents out there who are listening to her. According to the learned Ms. McCarthy, parents should not have their children immunized until such time as, to quote her, “vaccines are made safe.”
On what planet is she living? Ms. McCarthy, who was born five months after I graduated high school, can afford her conceits because she was born after we had effectively rid ourselves of the measles. And the mumps. And chicken pox. And whooping cough.
Ms. McCarthy can blithely assert that the risks of vaccinations exceed the risks of the diseases they protect against because she has no experience with the diseases…thanks to the success of immunization.
I had the measles as a kid. It cost me a week of school as I recall. Measles is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable childhood mortality.
The real problem here is the fact that we now live in an age when it is possible to be famous for being famous.
Other than looking great with her clothes off, what has Jenny McCarthy ever accomplished? What bestseller has she written? What hit album has she recorded? What Academy Award-worthy movie has she starred in?
And even if she had done any of these things, how would having done so qualify her to give advice about medical immunization?
Want good advice about immunizing your kids. Put down the magazine, quit reading un-sourced crap on the Internet and talk to your doctor.