The Vaccine-Autism Scare

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Jenny McCarthy's crusade against routine childhood vaccinations, specifically MMR, began after her son was diagnosed with autism a short period of time after having been vaccinated. Her celebrity status has given her far more authority than she would have had just being an average mom, and despite having no medical training or background, people believe her rather crackpot pseudo-scientific stance.

The controversy largely revolves around recently discredited research from 1998, regarding a non-replicable link between MMR shots and autism. Even though the entire basis of the anti-vax crusade was literally torn out from under them, Jenny McCarthy has not retracted from her stance against childhood vaccination, demonstrating a close-minded disregard for the principle of scientific skepticism.

Despite the complete absence of evidence supporting their view, anti-vaccine proponents still cling to their pseudo-scientific view, and not only does this endanger their children who remain unvaccinated and die from diseases that have been largely kept under control for a century, the practice of non-vaccination endangers everyone, due to the fact that even just a small amount of people not being vaccinated threatens herd immunity for the entire population.


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Wow, you learn something new everyday. I never knew about this case with Jenny McCarthy's son having Autism. But like you said, due to the absense of evidence supporting thier view, its sad that the anti-vaccine proponents still will stick to their pseudo-scientific view. Its sad that because of thier beliefs that they're actually hurtiing themselves and thier loved ones by not getting vaccinated. I would just wish that these people would do some research and look deeper into the unlikelyhood of the comparison. People can easily fall into these crazy beliefs without any evidennce and its ridiculous and unreal.

It's a shame that someone who has the ability to shed light on a very serious topic chooses to believe something that has been proved to be inaccurate. Imagine if McCarthy were to publicize effective treatments for autism instead of blaming a vaccine for her son's condition.

Wow, this is a good example of belief perseverance and someone taking things way too far. The fact that someone would continue supporting an argument as influential as this after any evidence for it is taken away is riduculous!
I feel like her continuing her "crusade" is especially harmful because of what these vaccinations do for us today. The fact that she is arguing against treatments that have been known to help is wrong in my opinion.

I have always been confused as to why one would link vaccination to autism, so it's good to know more about the controversy and its history. I agree: Jenny McCarthy displays extreme belief perseverance. This scare is incredibly regrettable; clearly vaccines do more good than harm. I hope that the American public can be educated (and reeducated) to understand that there is no proven link between vaccines and autism.

It's admirable she has such passion for her goal, it's unfortunate that it is colored negatively by a conspiratorial view of pharmaceutical companies. I think it's a side-effect of our rather cynical era, perhaps some distrust is warranted, but at the same time, she shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water.

I learned about his case last year in my high school psych class and my teacher also had a very personal experience with autism because her son was diagnosed with it. I never knew about Jenny McCarthy being such an advocate for the belief that vaccines can be blamed for autism though. It is sad that so many people can stick to such beliefs when they simply just aren't true. This particular belief can have huge side effects in the health of babies when so many parents believe that vaccines are bad even though they can be so beneficial.

While I can understand Jenny McCarthy's desire to place the blame for her child's autism on something tangible (it's natural for a parent to want to act out against something that threatens their child), her belief perseverance regarding this issue is dangerous. As a future teacher it's scary to think that some parents will choose not to vaccinate their children (aside from the fact that many vaccinations are required for entry into school). The first thing that comes to mind for me is my grandpa's stories about the polio outbreaks that happened every summer when he was young. Polio is a serious viral disease that can lead to permanent partial or full-body paralysis. These major outbreaks occurred with great frequency in the 1940s and 50s (one such outbreak leaving my grandpa's best friend paralyzed on his left side ). The polio vaccine developed in 1955 by Dr. Jonas E. Salk was the only truly successful method of containing the disease. Today, children are routinely vaccinated for polio and very few outbreaks of polio occur around the world - it has been almost completely eradicated.
If not for vaccinations, many life-threatening diseases would be much more prevalent than they currently are today. It is especially important to vaccinate your children because of the potential threat these diseases can have toward other children that they interact with and their own health and safety!

When I first heard about this I was shocked. I'll admit I didn't really know who Jenny McCarthy was but I was still surprised and dismayed by the fact that a celebrity has that much power over people and that these ridiculous unsupported theories have been practiced by many in her following. It only takes one unvaccinated person to cause an out break and the more people who do not vaccinate their children the more there is of a risk in a devastating epidemic. This is so unacceptable to put everyone at risk for something that is not even scientifically backed up. She should have looked at other possible causes than go straight to testifying that it was the vaccine.

Even though I completely feel for and understand McCarthy's pain, however, I believe that her close-mindedness, along with other people, is causing a serious risk for children who remain to unvaccinated. People like McCarthy's extreme belief perseverance shows us that sometimes even when people don't have evidence for their claims, they continue to hold on to their strong beliefs just because they don't want to be proven wrong .. an unfortunate state of events.

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This page contains a single entry by prie0082 published on February 26, 2012 8:04 PM.

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