The Jenny McCarthyism Era on Public Health

The US media is at it again — to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. How can America have gone from a country that had nearly eradicated measles, to a place where nearly 100 people are infected by visiting “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland?

I believe the power of media and the anti-vaccine movement began around 2007 when Jenny McCarthy started advocating against the “one size fits all” approach to vaccinations and argued that there is a scientific link between autism and the MMR vaccine. She has been quoted stating that her science is her son Evan.

No, Jenny isn’t the only person advocating this, but she seems to have a very loud voice. And that loud voice has the power of social media at her fingertips.

The decisions to vaccinate your child is a personal one. However, to make that personal decision, I think we need to have a proper health care system where you and your primary care provider have a relationship. We live in interconnected communities and decisions we make impact our neighbors (enter herd immunity cases). Let’s advocate for community-oriented public health systems where you can have a conversation with your doctor about vaccines. Talk with your PCP about vaccines, not Facebook.

Consider these words from Melinda Gates (VIDEO).

I conclude with this:  “Although the time periods have changed, the emotions and deep-rooted beliefs—whether philosophical, political, or spiritual—that underlie vaccine opposition have remained relatively consistent since Edward Jenner introduced vaccination.” (http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/history-anti-vaccination-movements)

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