We at ACSH are heartened to know that America has gotten a little safer this week.
Self-proclaimed vaccine expert Jenny McCarthy will soon become a co-host on The View, where she will no doubt be sharing her medical acumen with millions of people who will devour every word.
Such is the state of science and medical knowledge in America, says a disgusted Dr. Josh Bloom, ACSH s director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences. He continues, Celebrity worship is mostly harmless. If somehow your sense of fulfillment depends on knowing what flavor yogurt Justin Bieber prefers, that s just peachy. But when you start taking medical advice from these people, many of whom just happen to be extra
good-looking, and are products of the Oprah star generating machine, you are asking for all kinds of trouble.
Yet, this provides a fine opportunity to examine the made up vaccine-autism link one that McCarthy, who has a high school diploma to her credit has contributed to greatly.
For an overview of the story behind this non-existent link, a brilliant cartoon, posted by debunker Darryl Cunningham in 2010 says it all. Cunningham thoroughly eviscerates Andrew Wakefield, the former British surgeon, whose fraudulent claims in a 1998 paper in the British medical journal Lancet were the driving force behind an anti-vaccine mentality that still exists today despite overwhelming evidence that no such link exists.
To her credit, McCarthy, who has consistently supported Wakefield, has changed her mind, and no longer blames vaccines for her son s autism (which probably wasn't autism in the first place).
But so what? asks Dr. Bloom. Can someone please explain to me why anyone should pay the slightest bit of attention to someone who attained celebrity status by posing for Playboy in 1993? Yet it happens all the time, while genuine and devoted experts like ACSH trustee Dr. Paul Offit himself a co-inventor of a life-saving vaccine are either ignored outright or routinely accused of everything from jaywalking to the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Is this a beautiful country or what?