Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Vaccines: How Do They Work?
July 15, 2013 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Noted anti-vaccination activist Jenny McCarthy is going to replace Elizabeth Hasselbeck as The View's newest panelist. So, now, she can take her anti-vaccine roadshow to the masses. Even though she admitted that her son never had autism. A Slate columnist is even trying to petition The View to not hire Ms. McCarthy.
posted by reenum (195 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Elizabeth Hasselbeck was the nuts one, right? So no change there.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on July 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Maybe this is some kind of satirical statement? "Yeah, this is our Affirmative Action slot for people with bizarre deluded beliefs. First we tried a Republican...."
posted by yoink at 3:54 PM on July 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


"The University of Google is where I got my degree from." - Ms. McCarthy, Ph.G.

I hear all matriculating students get a free pair of Google Glasses!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:55 PM on July 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Look under your chair - it's tuberculosis!
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on July 15, 2013 [73 favorites]


Inserting how Slate points out that she is anti-vaccine but uses Botox.

Honestly, I was listening to a TAL episode about he anti-vax movement, and it made me yell at the radio. I honestly wonder if Ms. McCarthy is being placed on this show as an object of ridicule.
posted by 4ster at 3:57 PM on July 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Anyway, they should totes get Bill Gates as a guest now.
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on July 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Vaccinations clearly do not cause autism and it turns out your kid doesn't even HAVE autism... yet this doesn't temper your belief in sharing your opinion with the public... I hate to say it but...


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Cosine at 3:59 PM on July 15, 2013 [74 favorites]


WAKE UP SHEEPLE, IT'S THE VIEW
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:59 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Well, sure, Vax doesn't cause autism...

It causes Landau-Kleffner syndrome.
posted by symbioid at 4:00 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Advertising doesn't work? IT JUST DID.
posted by resurrexit at 4:00 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I am 100% sure she will ably provide the level of discourse that we have come to expect from such an august production.
posted by elizardbits at 4:00 PM on July 15, 2013 [35 favorites]


Even though she admitted that her son never had autism.

This seems like an extremely loaded, unfair way of describing "realized her son had been mis-diagnosed and actually has a rare neurological disorder which is often mistaken for autism."
posted by nathancaswell at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


It causes Landau-Kleffner syndrome.

Symptoms of Landau-Kleffner syndrome may occasionally present themselves in parents as Foot-in-Mouth disorder.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:03 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


"vocal ant-vaccine campaigner"

I don't understand why she wants ants to get vaccinated but not humans...
posted by bluejayway at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I vaccinate my kitchen against ants all the time.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


Kettle is the ultimate ant-vaccine.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fan, correct me if I'm wrong that the kid had a misdiagnosis and she corrected the record right? It isn't like she made the whole thing up and got busted on it.

This is like the difference between pitchforks and continuing to ignore her.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:15 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


She should be in prison.
posted by Windopaene at 4:15 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Missing some intermediary steps there, Ad Hom.
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]



The few times I've watched The View, it made me want to stick my head in a microwave. I can't see this hiring as a net positive for the show.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, it is a stupid show, but many people watch and believe what any celebrity says. Anti-vaccine activists should visit an old graveyard and see whole families of children who died in epidemics of diseases like measles and pertussis that we can now prevent by vaccine. Or check out some pictures of people in the 1940s and earlier permanently in iron lungs because of polio. I remember that as a child, and was in the first group to get the Salk vaccine.

This woman should not be given a further platform to spread her dangerous woo to the ignorant.
posted by mermayd at 4:18 PM on July 15, 2013 [46 favorites]


"As someone whose tits we've seen on a number of occasions, Jenny seemed like the right person to defer to regarding our infant's healthcare needs. Sadly little Schuyler passed away from a disease thought irradicated in the 1600s. Still...great tits though"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2013 [76 favorites]


McCarthy is prominently featured in this PBS documentary. I want to punch the smug Oregon parents who say that they shouldn't vaccinate their kids because pertussis and other diseases no longer occur.
posted by reenum at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


This seems like an extremely loaded, unfair way of describing "realized her son had been mis-diagnosed and actually has a rare neurological disorder which is often mistaken for autism."

It's not unfair, because she used her fame as a soapbox to preach that his "autism" was caused by vaccines and that she "cured" him through healthy eating and all sorts of other bullshit. She should be shouting the truth from the rooftops wearing a shirt that says I WAS FUCKING WRONG in big black letters.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:20 PM on July 15, 2013 [113 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: "This seems like an extremely loaded, unfair way of describing "realized her son had been mis-diagnosed and actually has a rare neurological disorder which is often mistaken for autism."

It's not unfair, because she used her fame as a soapbox to preach that his "autism" was caused by vaccines and that she "cured" him through healthy eating and all sorts of other bullshit. She should be shouting the truth from the rooftops wearing a shirt that says I WAS FUCKING WRONG in big black letters.
"

Oooooooooooh, costuming idea for The View.
posted by Samizdata at 4:23 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not a fan, correct me if I'm wrong that the kid had a misdiagnosis and she corrected the record right? It isn't like she made the whole thing up and got busted on it.

Not until after she had self-diagnosed her son as a crystal child and herself as an indigo mom.

She was never all that connected with reality. The misdiagnosis was barely connected with her full-throated defense of woo.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:23 PM on July 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


Ok, I got it.

Huge headline, retraction in small print in the section with the ads for the escorts who haven't gotten on the Internet yet.

And she is still touting the link.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:25 PM on July 15, 2013


I want to punch the smug Oregon parents who say that they shouldn't vaccinate their kids because pertussis and other diseases no longer occur.

Paraphrasing the August Justice Ginsberg, "Hey, I'm not getting wet, so I'll through away my umbrella."
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:25 PM on July 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


I guess I'm at like, I'll hold the torch while you guys get the pitchforks. I don't even have kids so it would be unseemly of me to join in but I'll help out where I can.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:27 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The View knows what they are doing. I'd bet that this isn't about endorsing her ideological views as much as it is creating intentional points of tension between participants, which leads (I think they think) to better ratings.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:27 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


We're worried about the credibility of a show where one of the show's hosts didn't believe that Earth existed before Jesus.
posted by xingcat at 4:31 PM on July 15, 2013 [24 favorites]


Anti-vaccers are everywhere. There's even a local poetry event organized by an organization thats meant to encourage scientific communication that has an anti-vaccer on the bill. This anti-rationality cuts across all notions of Left and Right - its an appeal to ideas of bodily purity that should have been left behind in the 18th century.

I think anti-vaccers should be named and shamed, and I think there should be some sort of database or tracking program to make sure that people with those views don't have public positions. Their ignorance literally kills children.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2013 [19 favorites]


The View is just pro-wrestling, only without body slams and hitting people with chairs. Contrivance wise it's a near match, just need to work on the extended storylines a little.
posted by edgeways at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you seen Whoopi throw a chair around though? Her technique is awesome.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


The View is still on TV??? I'll keep the TV on NBC.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2013


We're worried about the credibility of a show where one of the show's hosts didn't believe that Earth existed before Jesus.

A, I fucking adore Sherri Shepherd (she's hysterical, have you seen her on 30 Rock? We went to a live taping of "The View" once and she teasingly harassed my friend during the commercial break for skipping work to be there; she was also the only host to come out and do photos with fans afterwards), and B, I don't really care what you believe about how the earth was created/formed, as long as what you're preaching doesn't up the chance of my kid getting whooping cough or polio.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Don't be alarmed now, but it turns out there are literally hundreds of channels on TV, each of which hosts numerous TV shows that feature loathsome people. I know! It's not just The View!! I just found out, too! I was just about to make a MeFi front page post about it!!@!#!!!
posted by The World Famous at 4:38 PM on July 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


And she is also reversing her initial position that the MMR shots caused Evan’s autism. Jenny now says she wants vaccinations better researched — rather than getting rid of them altogether, as she previously promoted.
Well that's progress, isn't it? It appears that the main article (from Time magazine) is behind a paywall though?

Not sure what the point of this post is other than for Metafilter to get it's righteous GRRARR on.
posted by gwint at 4:46 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


@ The World Famous: +1000.
posted by Mr. Justice at 4:47 PM on July 15, 2013


so I'll through away my umbrella

Jeezus, did I do that? What a maroon!
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:47 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]



Not sure what the point of this post is other than for Metafilter to get it's righteous GRRARR on.


Because somebody's spreading a view that literally causes children to die. Vaccination rates are falling everywhere. A bunch of idiots are reversing scientific progress and convincing others to do that in the name of health. Something needs to be done - I honestly think people who hurt society like this should be cast out, exiled from society, and censured. Turn PRISM and the apparatus of the modern surviellence state against them.

Would anyone be interested in starting a site that names and shames anti-vaccers?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:48 PM on July 15, 2013 [22 favorites]


Don't be alarmed now, but it turns out there are literally hundreds of channels on TV, each of which hosts numerous TV shows that feature loathsome people.

WHEN ROSIE WAS SNIDE
NO CHILDREN DIED!
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:50 PM on July 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Confidential to Donnie Wahlberg: Listen, D-Dub. I'm not saying this because I wanted you to take me to my prom 23 years ago and I'm jealous that you and Jenny are an item now. I'm saying this because you and me have a LONG history of me buying your stuff and thinking you're adorable and you never knowing I exist: USE PROTECTION.
posted by kimberussell at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well that's progress, isn't it?

Sure, it would be, if I had any faith whatsoever that her admission was a sign of her rethinking her more general decision making process.

She's like a racist who hates all races, then a black family move in next door and are exemplary neighbors, so now the racist only hates jews, native americans and asians.
posted by Cosine at 4:52 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jesus fuck. I just made the godawful face at my phone.

I used to think I couldn't stand anti vaxxers and the I met an epidemiologist.

She doesn't really get angry. But bring up anti vaxxers and man, it's a quiet articulate rage I rarely come across. I swear she gets laser eyes.
posted by sio42 at 4:58 PM on July 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well that's progress, isn't it?

The damage is done and she doesn't seem to be putting in the effort to promote her (very slightly) evolved views as much as she promoted the antivax stuff to try and right any of the wrong. It's not the kind of thing where she can just go "my bad" and pretend it never happened but she sure seems to want to. This site is wrong in putting it all on her, but she's certainly responsible for some of those numbers, and being responsible for even one is too much.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:59 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


reenum: " Even though she admitted that her son never had autism."

Naw, it was just Scarlet Fever.
posted by notsnot at 5:00 PM on July 15, 2013


Because somebody's spreading a view that literally causes children to die.

She has been in the public eye for decades now. Yet somehow MetaFilter has failed to follow her every career step with an FPP noting the existence of this terrible person in the media. And she's not the only anti-vaccine horrible person in the media. Yet somehow MetaFilter has failed to have an FPP every time one of those other people gets a new job.

I have a hard time buying the notion that flipping out every time an anti-vaccer gets a new media job is a necessary practice that MeFi has somehow failed to include in its due internet diligence or whatever.

She's like a racist who hates all races

Now that's who you really want to have making personnel decisions at a company, just for the kick of seeing them fire every single employee and refuse to hire anyone, no matter what race they are.
posted by The World Famous at 5:01 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good idea Worldie, if we just pretend she doesn't exist she'll go away and no children will die.
posted by happyroach at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Whoa. It just sunk in that people said pertussis no longer occurs. They better hope no one from one of the places in Europe where vaccines are not mandatory doesnt come visit their town, carrying whooping cough or tb with them unknowingly.

The World Series for little league happens in PA and apparently our health dept has to do a bunch of research prior to the international teams coming to prepare for people possibly bringing all sorts of stuff with them.

Apparently caused a tb outbreak a few years back that was pretty bad.

But you know, those diseases don't occur anymore.

I think I need to take a break from MeFi for the rest of the day.
posted by sio42 at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


(If only pro-vax'ers were more polite.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have a hard time buying the notion that flipping out every time an anti-vaccer gets a new media job is a necessary practice that MeFi has somehow failed to include in its due internet diligence or whatever.

But its Jenny McCarthy on The View, gosh.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:07 PM on July 15, 2013


Good idea Worldie, if we just pretend she doesn't exist she'll go away and no children will die.

Yes, that's exactly what I said. Bravo.
posted by The World Famous at 5:07 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


:c It should have been you, Chris Hardwick.
posted by drezdn at 5:13 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


where one of the show's hosts didn't believe that Earth existed before Jesus.

That was quite amusing.
posted by kiltedtaco at 5:13 PM on July 15, 2013


Elizabeth Hasselbeck was the nuts one, right? So no change there.

That seems to imply the rest are sane.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:16 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I want to punch the smug Oregon parents who say that they shouldn't vaccinate their kids because pertussis and other diseases no longer occur.

Especially considering that there was a pertussis epidemic in Washington state last year attributable to low rates of vaccination.

The CDC link doesn't mention low rates of vaccination (instead saying, "Overall, 758 of 1,000 (75.8%) patients aged 3 months–10 years were up-to-date with the childhood diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) doses."), though local newspaper articles did.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 5:19 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yet somehow MetaFilter has failed to have an FPP every time one of those other people gets a new job.

True, but as much as we roll our eyes at it, The View is a pretty influential show. It's a perennial Emmy nominee, it's long-lived, it's still under the watch of the highly-esteemed Barbara Walters and it pulls in the eyeballs. Whose eyeballs? The 18-34 year old women who happen to be home while it's on in the middle of the morning. I'm guessing many of them are moms.

It's alarming because this is the highest-profile job McCarthy's had in a long time (and that's if you count Singled Out as high-profile) and it puts her anti-vax message in front of the perfect audience. Even if only 10 viewers decide not to vaccinate their children because they see McCarthy on The View and do a bit of research on her, that's 10 families too many.
posted by kimberussell at 5:19 PM on July 15, 2013 [46 favorites]


view who?
posted by lampshade at 5:29 PM on July 15, 2013


It's alarming because this is the highest-profile job McCarthy's had in a long time (and that's if you count Singled Out as high-profile) and it puts her anti-vax message in front of the perfect audience.

Commenters above have noted that McCarthy is no longer advancing an anti-vax message, but that her efforts (such as they are) to retract her previous evangelism have been rather feeble. Are they mistaken? If they are not mistaken, and McCarthy has, indeed, changed her mind about her anti-vax position but has not adequately refuted them publicly, can you explain to me why it would be undesirable for her to have a more prominent public voice whereby to either fail to advance the anti-vax position she no longer holds, to get the message to more people that she has changed her position, or, in the event that she still holds those views, to deliver them in a forum where she is guaranteed to be immediately challenged and refuted on the air?
posted by The World Famous at 5:33 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have been watching clips of the view on youtube. I think its great. I love the clips where somebody hands Hasselback's ass to her when she says something ignorant, kinda prejudiced or just dumb.

I can't wait for McCarthy to be in her seat now.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:42 PM on July 15, 2013


Wake me up when Thabo Mbeki gets a seat on The View.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2013


They better hope no one from one of the places in Europe where vaccines are not mandatory doesnt come visit their town, carrying whooping cough or tb with them unknowingly.

There is, right now at this very moment, a measles outbreak in Brooklyn. Right now in 2013 in the New York Metropolitan Area.
posted by elizardbits at 5:49 PM on July 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


yet this doesn't temper your belief in sharing your opinion with the public

But she has actually tempered her beliefs. She isn't anti-vax, anymore. That she isn't doing enough to shout this from the rooftops doesn't change this.

Look, I think she's a genuine kook who really did considerable damage with her ideas, but she has actually changed her position. The framing of this FPP is pretty misleading, and could be framed a lot better.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


All I'm saying is that MTV has a lot to answer for by not keeping McCarthy safely corralled on Singled Out.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:53 PM on July 15, 2013


Note: Not just a Slate columnist. He's Phil Plait. He's been blogging as the Bad Astronomer for quite a while now. His blog used to be hosted by Discover Magazine (I think), and was recently moved to Slate.com. He worked on the Hubble telescope and has his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Virginia.

He blogs about astronomical phenomena. He also uses his blog to debunk people who promote dangerous ideas that science has proven wrong (like Jenny McCarthy's ideas about vaccinations -- though it seems she has recently changed her position?).

I am not Phil Plait or even a huge Phil Plait fan. I just wanted to get this info out there since I didn't see his name mentioned anywhere in this post. I think he's up there with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye as a popularizer of science.
posted by qivip at 6:04 PM on July 15, 2013 [25 favorites]


yet this doesn't temper your belief in sharing your opinion with the public

But she has actually tempered her beliefs. She isn't anti-vax, anymore.


I am specifically referring to her belief that she is qualified to share her opinion as correct, logical and informed.

The fact that she is taking this job on the View shows she has the exact same belief in the validity of her own opinion as she had before she was proven wrong. THAT is what pisses me off.
posted by Cosine at 6:12 PM on July 15, 2013


I don't think Jenny McCarthy has revised her position on vaccines, even after she made a public statement about her son's misdiagnosis. If anyone can link to something relevant, that would be helpful.

But her name is still all over Generation Rescue and her Twitter feed keeps promoting it. And the FRONT PAGE of the site still has her "diagnosis to recovery" video where she describes her son's diagnosis of autism and his recovery from it. She talks about her "research" into the causes of autism -- oh, guess. Please, just guess what one major cause could be. (Scroll ahead to the 5:00 mark if you're really at a loss.)

Oh, yeah, she claims not to be anti-vaccine: she's just one of a group of people who want "intelligent" use of vaccines, while going out of her way to panic people. And she still claims that chelation and vitamins and getting rid of rugs (not drugs -- rugs) helped "cure" her son.
posted by maudlin at 6:16 PM on July 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


The fact that she is taking this job on the View shows she has the exact same belief in the validity of her own opinion as she had before she was proven wrong. THAT is what pisses me off.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but every single person on every single talk show on television - for the entire history of the medium - has held opinions that they believe or believed were valid, many of which were or are wrong. And every single one of them has the audacity to do their job anyway.

I mean honestly - your problem with her is that she has the audacity to take the job that was offered to her instead of crawling under a rock for the rest of her life - regardless of whether or not she currently holds the same erroneous view you disagree with? Come on.
posted by The World Famous at 6:18 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


McCarthy is there to bring in a male demographic.
posted by Renoroc at 6:20 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


your problem with her is that she has the audacity to take the job that was offered to her instead of crawling under a rock for the rest of her life

YES

THROW HER INTO THE PIT OF LEECHES
posted by elizardbits at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


Commenters above have noted that McCarthy is no longer advancing an anti-vax message, but that her efforts (such as they are) to retract her previous evangelism have been rather feeble. Are they mistaken?

I just spent far too much of my lifetime searching for any record of her changing her opinions and can only find this piece on a celebrity blog from Feb 2010 that quotes the Time Magazine article I can't get to.

And then in Jan 2010 she had an interview with PBS Frontline where she said..
I'm not for starting an epidemic of another disease. We just want there to be some type of conversation, once. Sit down with our side, with our doctors and scientists, to take a look at what we're talking about. We're not an anti-vaccine movement. We're pro-safe-vaccine schedule. Until we have that conversation, people are going to think it's an anti- and pro- side.
Okay cool. But then says (emphasis mine):
Evan is now 7 years old, so the only shots I think that he would possibly ever require by a school would be what? Now, I would be part of that personal reasons that I would exempt Evan from getting vaccinated. He doesn't receive any flu shots of any sort. And if I had another child, would I vaccinate? No, based on the family history of myself, my ex-husband now, and my son, Evan, that we have autoimmune disorders in our family.
So yeah, there was a soft backpedal there, but then a hard no, she would not vaccinate another child. That interview is about as pro-vax as she's ever been, and she's really not at all pro-vax in that interview.
posted by kimberussell at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


your problem with her is that she has the audacity to take the job that was offered to her instead of crawling under a rock for the rest of her life

Yeah, pretty much.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:25 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


As an infectious disease guy (thus the 'nym), I have had a vitriolic hatred towards Anti-vaxxers for as long as I can remember. My take on the Jenny McCarthy backpedaling is that her entire claim to credibility was "I am the parent of an autistic child, and thus must be believed over every single thing that carefully controlled science tells you." Since she can no longer make that claim, she is adrift. Still as brain-searingly stupid as ever, just without a tag line.
posted by Vcholerae at 6:25 PM on July 15, 2013 [31 favorites]


Until someone rounds up some better quotes to support the claim that McCarthy has genuinely renounced her old views, I'm sticking with Classic Jenny McCarthy :: 2013 Jenny McCarty as Creationism :: Intelligent Design.
posted by maudlin at 6:26 PM on July 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


kimberussell: Thanks for taking the time to do some research.

Where did all the mefites talking about her recanting get this info? Hopefully they can provide the links to backup the statements you couldn't fine, otherwise... you know...
posted by Cosine at 6:27 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a child with autism, and no one - apart from maybe Jim Carrey - has pissed me off as much as McCarthy when it comes to anti-vax lunacy. Yet her ability to even re-consider and modify her position, to me, is very encouraging. I don't think the same could be said for many dudes who've been on the fringe.

Where did all the mefites talking about her recanting get this info?

From the link in the FPP "never had autism":

"Jenny now says she wants vaccinations better researched — rather than getting rid of them altogether, as she previously promoted."

Also, the comments about her tits and physical appearance can stop anytime. Really.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:29 PM on July 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


[Let's maybe not start assessing Ms. McCarthy's looks?]
posted by jessamyn at 6:32 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Even though she admitted that her son never had autism.
This seems like an extremely loaded, unfair way of describing "realized her son had been mis-diagnosed and actually has a rare neurological disorder which is often mistaken for autism."
In many or perhaps even most contexts, I'd agree. But in this context? Which is that she believed vaccines cause autism because she believed vaccines caused her son to be autistic, and that she still believes vaccines cause autism despite now knowing that her son is not autistic? No. It's a totally fair way of describing it in this context.
posted by Flunkie at 6:40 PM on July 15, 2013


She should be in prison, along with Andrew Wakefield, Jim Carrey, and a few others. The anti-vaxx movement is sickeningly racist, classist, anti-science, profit-driven and destructive.

Oh, and she thinks that her son, apart from not actually being autistic, is in fact a psychic extra-dimensional angel known as an Indigo Child and that she is an Indigo Mom.


The View has lost its damn mind to hire her. I don't care how silly and non-edudite that "august production" is, they are hiring a sick woman promoting an evil agenda, and they should be ashamed.

Jenny McCarthy Body Count

Required Reading: The Facts in the Case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
posted by lazaruslong at 6:52 PM on July 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


I think anti-vaccers should be named and shamed, and I think there should be some sort of database or tracking program to make sure that people with...
this belief are first into the quarantine pens. Then we lock the gates to protect the young and immune-compromised.

I don't wish illness or death on anyone, but I wouldn't throw a wedge under the wheel of karma, either.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:53 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


McCarthy always struck me as someone whose talent relied upon who they are, and believed they were talented without having actual talent. Basically the category most reality tv stars, namely Hasselback, would fall into, but at least Hasselback learned how to host a show during her tv run.

The movie McCarthy wrote and starred in is insanely terrible and makes me think her book editors had to constantly revise her writing so it contained 90% less poop jokes. Since, for some odd reason, poop jokes seem to be the well she's most comfortable drawing from.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:16 PM on July 15, 2013


"better researched"

That basically means "I'm still a fear mongering shitbag, but now I'm using weasle words. WE JUST DON'T KNOW. "

She can fuck the hell off.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on July 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


I used to think I couldn't stand anti vaxxers and then I met an epidemiologist.
She doesn't really get angry. But bring up anti vaxxers and man, it's a quiet articulate rage I rarely come across. I swear she gets laser eyes.


Yeah. It's a professional hazard, and tricky to manage at cocktail parties. (IAAE. IANYE.)
I guess I'm at like, I'll hold the torch while you guys get the pitchforks. I don't even have kids so it would be unseemly of me to join in but I'll help out where I can.

Oh, no, there are plenty of costs to adults and society in general from vaccine-preventable diseases. Adults who get pertussis take forever to recover, and the loss of work productivity is non-trivial, so much so that routine vaccination of adolescents and adults continues to be discussed.

How would we name-and-shame anti-vaxxers? It has not been my experience that people who choose not to vaccinate are particularly silent or ashamed about it - if anything, part of the problem is that people who don't vaccinate are loud-and-proud about their misapprehensions about vaccine risks in all sorts of forums - online, at school gatherings, and at social gatherings. It's an echo chamber, not a closet.
posted by gingerest at 7:26 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree that McCarthy should be called out for her history of anti-vax campaigning but why isn't Jim Carrey getting the same amount of shit?
posted by rdr at 7:26 PM on July 15, 2013


He's not featured every day on a prominent talk show ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:30 PM on July 15, 2013


He recently declared violent films deplorable after appearing in a violent film with full knowledge thereof, which was kind of nuts.
posted by Artw at 7:32 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


He recently declared violent films deplorable after appearing in a violent film with full knowledge thereof, which was kind of nuts.


I don't think it's nuts at all, he worked on a movie, after seeing the end product had second thoughts about the violence, came out directly, calmly and clearly with his misgivings, asked not to have to promote the film and said it will be his last violent movie.

That is exactly how someone uses experience and knowledge to change and grow, shame he broke up with Jenny before this, she might have learned something.
posted by Cosine at 7:36 PM on July 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I remember that as a child, and was in the first group to get the Salk vaccine.

Yes. It was Big News when it became available. Though we'd already had the regular vaccine, we were all hauled down to the school ON A SUNDAY---the school was opened for this big occasion--so we could all take a little swallow. It was amazing. We'd grown up with the terrible fear of getting polio--there was even a kid in my first-grade class who wore a brace because of it, before he got thrown out of the class for being rude to the teacher, never to return.

People like McCarthy should never ever be given a platform no matter how inconsequential the rest of us think the program is. It's on TV, a lot of people will believe her.

I wonder what the rest of them think.
posted by etaoin at 7:40 PM on July 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I agree that McCarthy should be called out for her history of anti-vax campaigning but why isn't Jim Carrey getting the same amount of shit?

Nor has Carrey revised his position one iota, and it isn't like he's shrinking from the limelight, either. I think the discrepancy has a lot to do with sexism, probably (but it's not like everyone who has an issue with her and not Carrey is sexist, and anyway I'm not telepathic).

To expand on what I was saying earlier, McCarthy, Carrey, Oprah (for giving these people a voice for their positions) et al used to drive me nuts because I'd have well-meaning people suggest a connection between having vaccinated my daughter and her autism, while recommending one esoteric diet after another in order to "cure" her, blithely ignoring the years I spent working with the autistic and knowing what can actually slow or even reverse symptoms (lame, boring, continuous one-and-one socialization and language therapy) if caught early enough, though there is nothing remotely close to a cure.

However, I much prefer giving people due credit for even re-considering their quack opinions - especially in the fringe/conspiracy arena, where people are much more likely to bunker down and refuse to accept evidence and change their minds - rather than continue to berate them for the stupid shit they used to believe. She's not all the way there yet, no, but McCarthy's at least shown slightly more flexibility of thinking than Carrey, even if she still has a long way to go.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:41 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


How would we name-and-shame anti-vaxxers?

It's called quarantine, and if you aren't vaccinated it's what should be happening during an outbreak.
posted by jeather at 7:43 PM on July 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Marisa: While I would agree that sexism is likely a part of it I would posit the larger difference is the weighing of a wacky opinion against a lifetime body of work plus the relative difference in the volume and frequency of the declarations.
posted by Cosine at 7:46 PM on July 15, 2013


I agree that McCarthy should be called out for her history of anti-vax campaigning but why isn't Jim Carrey getting the same amount of shit?

Yeah, in general he seems to get a huge pass where she doesn't. Around the time of their divorce it seemed like his slate got wiped clean, like it was all the crazy lady Yokoing up his head with her crazy womanly crazy ways.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:47 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


He recently declared violent films deplorable after appearing in a violent film with full knowledge thereof, which was kind of nuts.

There was nothing nuts about it. He made the movie before Sandy Hook, and after that event he changed his views about guns.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 7:49 PM on July 15, 2013


As someone from the same general neighborhood and age group as her, all I can say is I hope she cleaned up her fucking accent. I despise hearing it.

(and aren't we all going to be embarrassed if she ends up exposing a previously unseen articulate and intelligent side?)
posted by gjc at 7:55 PM on July 15, 2013


(and aren't we all going to be embarrassed if she ends up exposing a previously unseen articulate and intelligent side?)

If she has kept it hidden this successfully for this long she is likely the new Einstein.
posted by Cosine at 8:08 PM on July 15, 2013


I think anti-vaccers should be named and shamed, and I think there should be some sort of database or tracking program to make sure that people with those views don't have public positions. Their ignorance literally kills children.

You either have an interesting meaning for the word literally or you believe in magic. It seems to me that if you think ignorance literally kills people you might just as easily believe that vaccines literally cause autism.

posted by layceepee at 8:21 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]



Marisa: While I would agree that sexism is likely a part of it I would posit the larger difference is the weighing of a wacky opinion against a lifetime body of work plus the relative difference in the volume and frequency of the declarations.


Reasonable people can disagree about violence in films. Anti-vaccers' views literally kill children. Its the one view that should be stamped out.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:21 PM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think Jim Carrey may have been mum because he may be taking a "step entirely away from the crazy" approach and is just not talking about anything. When he was on Inside The Actors Studio, his answer to the "what do you want to hear god say" question was that he wanted to hear god say, "it's okay, she's not coming." He didn't elaborate but many claim it's Jenny he's talking about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 PM on July 15, 2013


(and aren't we all going to be embarrassed if she ends up exposing a previously unseen articulate and intelligent side?)

Ehh not really, I'm sure she's intelligent and articulate about all sorts of things, just, y'know, emphatically not science. Unfortunately she's also got the charisma and savvy to sound like she knows it and enough media access to get a lot of other people to buy her version (and to weasel her way out of any real responsibility for it). But being a dangerous idiot in one area doesn't mean she's automatically dumb all over.

I think Jim Carrey may have been mum because he may be taking a "step entirely away from the crazy" approach and is just not talking about anything.

It's just super shitty that he can get away with that so well since he is responsible for half the crazy. He's milking the shit out of his privilege.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:24 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reasonable people can disagree about violence in films. Anti-vaccers' views literally kill children. Its the one view that should be stamped out.


Yes, and not to weaken my point here, but he wrote more than a couple anti-vac articles himself.
posted by Cosine at 8:29 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


elizardbits: There is, right now at this very moment, a measles outbreak in Brooklyn.

Y'know, I had measles once before anybody heard of them. You used to get amazing artisinal free-range measles without having to leave billyburg, but now they've totally sold out.

I'm gonna bring back rickets. That would be deck.
posted by dr_dank at 8:35 PM on July 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


This woman discovered her kid was non-neurotypical. That's enough to make any parent go a little nuts. Did she make a big mistake assuming that her kids MMR vaccine was responsible? Yeah, without question. However her biggest crime it seems to me is that her job put her in a position to be a vocal advocate about her mistaken beliefs. Since I've had my own experience worrying about a loved one being in this situation, I'll cut her some slack assuming she gets with the program. Seems like shes almost there given her current more research line.
posted by Jernau at 8:44 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not in the fucking slightest. There is no shortage of research here.
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on July 15, 2013 [13 favorites]


You don't get cut slack when your views lead to death.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:20 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


When there is a shit-ton of research that disproves your point "we need more research" is woo for "I will never give up believing crazy shit, ever, no matter how much it is proven to be crazy" with a side of "Shouldn't we act as if my crazy shit is really just to be on the safe side?" - she's not moved an inch.
posted by Artw at 9:23 PM on July 15, 2013 [20 favorites]


me:How would we name-and-shame anti-vaxxers?

jeather: It's called quarantine, and if you aren't vaccinated it's what should be happening during an outbreak.

I know this is a joke but most disease outbreaks don't require isolation for control, and subjects of isolation are contagious infected people, not susceptible people. Even fewer outbreaks require involuntary isolation (quarantine). The idea of using quarantine as punishment for non-compliance is counter to the efforts of public health agencies, which cannot function without the cooperation, goodwill, and trust of the public.
posted by gingerest at 9:28 PM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


MCCARTHY / POLIO 2016!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:29 PM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


MCCARTHY / POLIO 2016!

Great, just what America needs, another legacy candidate.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Naw, it was just Scarlet Fever.

Not sure if this is a reference to something besides Weird Old Tymey Diseases, but my kid actually for-real got Scarlet Fever last week. I was all "what, do I treat that with a bucket of leeches and a mustard plaster?" but no, it's caused by strep, so all we needed was high-dose amoxicillin and she's right as rain now.

Super scary, though, I've never seen a kid go downhill so fast. In three hours she went from "poor thing, have a popsicle and a movie" to "get your shoes on, we're going to the fucking hospital." Thank God she's vaccinated so I don't have to do this with pertussis and diphtheria and measles and mumps and HiB and god only knows what else.
posted by KathrynT at 9:40 PM on July 15, 2013 [18 favorites]


I don't think it's nuts at all, he worked on a movie, after seeing the end product had second thoughts about the violence, came out directly, calmly and clearly with his misgivings, asked not to have to promote the film and said it will be his last violent movie.

That is exactly how someone uses experience and knowledge to change and grow, shame he broke up with Jenny before this, she might have learned something.


Maybe. But the movie in question is Kickass 2. Did he not see the first one beforehand? It's not without its violent moments, is all.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:42 PM on July 15, 2013


Yeah, I'm not buying it in the slightest.
posted by Artw at 9:43 PM on July 15, 2013


Not buying that Sandy Hook changed his mind?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 9:54 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


The stunning revelation that he had that Sandy Hook revolved entirely around him self doesn't strike me as a worthwhile insight or particularly stable, no.
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on July 15, 2013


I guess I'm not seeing the idea that parodying people who are unstable doing crazy violent things, and then deciding that isn't such a great thing after someone unstable does crazy violent things in real life is a kooky revelation.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 10:02 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well at least Whoopi Goldberg will have some competition when it comes to on-air farting contests.
posted by tservo at 10:03 PM on July 15, 2013


She's from El-Auria, that means she can see the future or the past or something. Anyway, it's pretty mystical.
posted by Artw at 10:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just like fucking magnets, thats how.
posted by sfts2 at 10:12 PM on July 15, 2013


She hasn't changed her views at all - all she's done is exactly what maudlin points out above, moved her language on to match that of the current anti-vax movement. Pretty much all anti-vaxxers nowadays are against "overuse" of vaccines and for "more research". The line is "we're not against vaccines, we're for safe vaccines!" - which is the line McCarthy touts, too.

As others have also pointed out above, the timeline of McCarthy's pronouncements over the years (when and how her son was supposedly diagnosed with autism, when and how she decided it was vaccine-caused, etc.) has always been in flux. Anti-vaccine advocacy became her calling card only after her business ventures around the idea that her son was an "indigo" didn't pan out.

Worth remembering that McCarthy's pregnancy itself was a big part of her celebrity: she wrote a book about it which was a massive best-seller and followed that up with a first-year parenting memoir. It seems like it was clear early on that her son was not neurotypical, and that there was a lot of casting around about how she could carry through on the career she'd already started as a writer about motherhood / mothers' advocate. Eventually, she seems to have hit on Wakefield and the anti-vaxx movement as her platform.
posted by Wylla at 11:49 PM on July 15, 2013 [16 favorites]


As long as you can show a safety profile of less than 1e-36 adverse events / dose, I am pro-vaxx.
posted by benzenedream at 12:02 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


WAKE UP SHEEPLE, IT'S THE VIEW

If they started every episode with this, I might watch.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:04 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jenny and some others like her received $$$$ to promote their positions...what else did you see her doing to earn an income...and to relate it to autism when that is a condition that requires more diagnosis than Jenny tried to get....for example....my youngest little girl (now a lovely college grad mother of one) who as a baby just stared and smiled and did not talk so I thought she was slow....so I spent countless hours reading and showing her little songs and television...I was having nothing of her being "slow" and behind so I even bought her one of the first desktop computers and she watched Sesame, etc ...AND then one day she was speaking in full sentences and reading and memorizing things all at 3....did I cure her or did I have my fears on crooked...but she did have all her vaccines...maybe that caused it...or maybe she had nothing to say yet....
posted by OhSusannah at 2:46 AM on July 16, 2013


If anti-vaccine campaigners are vocal now, wait for the howls of protest when they develop an inoculation against stupidity.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:00 AM on July 16, 2013


I am specifically referring to her belief that she is qualified to share her opinion as correct, logical and informed.

It's possible that The View is going to shift its focus to the important topic of "hot chicks" who act like fools on MTV prgrams and pose naked for Playboy in the 80s and have tons of naked pictures on Usenet binary groups, in which case Jenny McCarthy really is uniquely qualified for this job.
posted by aught at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2013


Best be careful, MuffinMan - we might just find that stupidity isn't what a lot of people think it is...
posted by JB71 at 5:50 AM on July 16, 2013


The "needs more research" line sounds like bullshit to me. There's plenty of research. Vaccines are not a new thing. We know what happens to communities that have vaccines and what happens to communities that don't. There are no question about whether the standard vaccines are valuable. No question.

Now, chickenpox and flu vaccines I'm on the edge about, largely because I don't really understand the purpose of them for people who aren't immuno-suppressed. I mean, I got the chickenpox, everybody got the chickenpox, I never heard of anyone dying from it. And the flu shot seems pointless because there are so many varieties of flu, and people who get the flu shot still catch the flu a lot of the time anyways. But I don't have kids, I'm not going to tell anyone not to vaccinate their kids- I mean, it sure won't hurt them.
posted by windykites at 5:59 AM on July 16, 2013


Everybody got the German measles (rubella) too, and was fine -- except sometimes they passed it on to pregnant women, and the babies those pregnant women had were not fine.

Most people who got the regular measles were fine too, but some unlucky onesdied.

Immuno-supressed people can't have vaccines. Vaccines rely on the immune system to work.

Sometimes the best reason to vaccinate your kids is to protect other people's kids.

In the case of the flu vaccine, I think that's exactly the reason to get it. So you don't pass the flu to some elderly person or tiny baby or sick person who is at risk of death. And chicken-pox appears, like rubella to be especially dangerous for pregnant women, and other adult patients. (And then there's shingles -- but I think it's not clear yet to what extent the chicken pox vaccine protects against shingles in later life.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:12 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you have kids - your heart is outside your body... if you've got a heart and want to be a good parent, that is. There's a lot of folks who don't seem to much care, but anyway...

You don't want things to hurt them, and you agonize over what could. You're constantly hearing about threats, and sometimes it seems like the less likely the threat the more you pay attention to it. You hear about a kid being abducted in California, and halfway across the country you give strangers in the area far more attention than you would have before you had a child - because you know that strange SOB is going to STEAL your child if you turn attention away for thirty seconds. It's not a rational belief, you know that - but it's hard to ignore.

As far as the vaccination-autism link goes, I'm a firm believer in vaccination. I know the history of childhood diseases, has measles, mumps and rubella as a kid. I know that despite the claims there's no threat from the preservatives in the vaccines - you'd think they were injecting straight liquid mercury to hear some of them talk.

So I KNOW vaccines are safe. I've had a lot of them - the old standards, along with tetanus, yellow fever, cholera, smallpox, and various others I can't recall.

But still when our son was born - I... hesitated, and I worried. I KNEW there was no proven link. I KNEW that it was a hell of a lot safer to have the vaccinations... but what if there WAS? It was the 'child snatched' thing again. How could I protect my child from a threat - even if it was a bogus one? Maybe... not vaccinate? But...

It's a crazy, stupid thing when your fears try hard to hijack your higher logic. We made sure the little guy had his shots, and there's been no side effects for the last 15 years.

So I understand how some parents will ignore the real threats from childhood diseases and focus on the bogus, especially when a 'celebrity' is pushing it.
posted by JB71 at 6:17 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


most disease outbreaks don't require isolation for control, and subjects of isolation are contagious infected people, not susceptible people.

It is partially a joke, yes, but quarantine is for people (animals, plants) who have been exposed to the disease, unlike isolation, and if people stop vaccinating en greater masse, I don't think that quarantine would be a bad solution (though in practice it would be unworkable -- if the death tolls got to the point where it was workable, I like to imagine that people would start vaccinating again).
posted by jeather at 6:25 AM on July 16, 2013


I'm not for starting an epidemic of another disease. We just want there to be some type of conversation, once. Sit down with our side, with our doctors and scientists, to take a look at what we're talking about. We're not an anti-vaccine movement. We're pro-safe-vaccine schedule.

Because the ACIP just promotes the recommended schedule on a whim, not based on more than two centuries of development and an actual understanding of immunology? Because there was never a "conversation" about vaccine safety and efficacy? Not even "once?"

And if I had another child, would I vaccinate? No, based on the family history of myself, my ex-husband now, and my son, Evan, that we have autoimmune disorders in our family.

Ah, the exquisite irony of her taking advantage of the herd immunity that widespread immunizations provide.
posted by Pax at 6:26 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


OnceUponaTime, thanks, I didn't know that stuff.

I think that might be part of the problem, part of why the anti-vax stuff is so easy for some people to fall for- because a lot of us don't really understand how it works anyways, so all sorts of things seem plausible even if they're not. I had always believed that vaccinations were more important for the immuno-suppressed because they don't have strong enough immune systems to survive trying to fight off the real thing, but they can develop a specific immunity by recieving a vaccine, which can't actually hurt them. I don't remember who told me that, but it sounds as believeable, to someone who has no training, as anything else.
posted by windykites at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're worried about the credibility of a show where one of the show's hosts didn't believe that Earth existed before Jesus.

While you may not share that belief, it is absolutely correct Christian theology.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2013


And the flu shot seems pointless because there are so many varieties of flu, and people who get the flu shot still catch the flu a lot of the time anyways.

If enough people get the strain that they've identified, the chances that vulnerable populations will get (and/or have complications related to) that strain are greatly reduced, even if it doesn't protect against every strain. Herd immunity requires mass immunization - folks who might not get really sick/have complications from/die from the flu might still get it and pass it on to someone who could not be vaccinated.

Also, I still wear my seatbelt and wash my hands and wear a bicycle helmet, even though those things won't prevent all accidents and diseases.
posted by Pax at 7:10 AM on July 16, 2013


While you may not share that belief, it is absolutely correct Christian theology.

No it's not. There's an entire section of the Bible that takes place on Earth before Jesus was born.
posted by drezdn at 7:12 AM on July 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


First, I want to signal-boost gingerest and Wylla's comments for bringing the facts about McCarthy and vaccines in general. (Plus Phil Plait's post on Slate, of course.) There seems to have been no small amount of effort by people in this post to minimize the damage that McCarthy has personally done, to pretend that she's walked it back, or to spread the blame around to people like Jim Carrey, whose "advocacy" of anti-vax seems to have started and ended with his relationship to McCarthy. (If anyone has more recent evidence of his views on this, I'd like to see it.)

My own views on vaccination are informed by having contracted mumps when I was three--in 1967, the first year that 3-year-olds started being routinely vaccinated for MMR, ironically--which left me completely deaf in one ear and possibly sterile. There are a lot of questionable things that science in general and medicine in particular have done during my lifetime, but routine childhood vaccination is not one of them, and for anyone who tries to gin up some sympathy for po' widdle Jenny because she's being picked on unfairly because she's not the only celebrity to get into the woo, I will literally turn a deaf ear to you.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Now, chickenpox and flu vaccines I'm on the edge about, largely because I don't really understand the purpose of them for people who aren't immuno-suppressed. I mean, I got the chickenpox, everybody got the chickenpox, I never heard of anyone dying from it.

Anecdotes are not data. Chicken pox can be very serious. In the US alone, about 100-150 people a year used to die from chicken pox every year, with an additional 10K-13K hospital admissions for serious complications from chicken pox. This rate plummeted after people started vaccinating against it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now, chickenpox and flu vaccines I'm on the edge about, largely because I don't really understand the purpose of them for people who aren't immuno-suppressed.

Coming back to the point of the thread this would make more sense in a situation where there was a clear, quantifiable risk from the vaccines. There isn't. Otherwise just not potentially giving people a disease that could possibly kill them is actually a really good public health outcome. Many people are immunosuppressed including people living with cancer and with other types of chronic medical conditions, it's not all "boy in a plastic bubble" sorts of things.
posted by jessamyn at 7:36 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


@Stitcherbeast -

How many social projects of dubious utility are sold with the excuse of "If it saves just one life it's worth it!"?

Vaccination saves many more than 'just one life'.
posted by JB71 at 7:39 AM on July 16, 2013


The risks from the chicken pox vaccine are fairly clear and quantifiable. They're just not significant. The risks are several magnitudes smaller than that of chicken pox itself.

...

JB71, I'm unclear why that comment was addressed to me? I am emphatically in support of vaccination, including chicken pox vaccination.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:43 AM on July 16, 2013


windykites: You're right. The ways in which vaccines work are complicated, and it is hard to know what (or who) to believe, at times. Personally, I do my best to understand, but mostly I rely on the consensus of researchers and pediatricians, as far as I can tell what it is. (Usually I look for statements from the Centers for Disease Control or the American Academy of Pediatrics if I have any doubts, after talking to my own pediatrician.) I am reassured by the fact that most vaccines have a very long history of being used on a very large part of the population (including me), and historically the results have been very, very good. So I think even with new vaccines (like for chicken pox, or the flu) the people recommending them have a lot of credibility, because they are the same people who brought us those other, very successful, vaccines.

I feel bad that I didn't cite my sources for everything I said in my previous comment (I had a seven month old and two year old making demands on my attention, but I'm at work now so I have more free time :-) ) so I'd like to add a couple more links about chicken pox and immuno-compromised patients:

About chickenpox: A woman who contracts chickenpox in early pregnancy can pass the virus to her fetus, causing abnormalities in 2% of cases. The fetus can develop scarring of the skin and affected limb(s), limb deformities (hypoplesia), eye damage, low birth weight, brain atrophy, and mental retardation. The virus sometimes leads to fetal demise or spontaneous abortion, while some infected fetuses die in infancy. [...] Prior to the introduction of the varicella vaccine, there were 3 to 4 million cases of varicella in the United States each year. About 10,000 people were hospitalized with complications, and approximately 100 patients died. While only 5% of reported cases of varicella are in adults, adults account for 35% of the deaths from the disease.

About immuno-compromised patients: For those who have not already been vaccinated, immunization should be considered. However, a compromised immune system may be unable to mount a sufficient response to immunization, and the protection afforded by the vaccine may be lessened. Nevertheless, immunization is frequently recommended for immunocompromised persons in the hope that they will gain at least partial immunity.[...] Live vaccines are generally contraindicated in patients with inadequate immune systems. In this population, replication of the virus after administration can be enhanced, and live vaccines can actually induce infection.

A nice description of how vaccines rely on your own immune system to fight off diseases

I do feel like a big part of the reason that I choose to vaccinate my kids against these diseases, is out of a kind of civic duty to protect others, including people with weak immune systems and pregnant women and newborns and old people...
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:44 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who Needs Science Or Feminism When There's Jenny McCarthy?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:47 AM on July 16, 2013


Here's a wonderful, organized review of the literature and history of vaccines and autism by Dr. Steven Novella over at sciencebasedmedicine.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:56 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I got the chickenpox, everybody got the chickenpox, I never heard of anyone dying from it.

I have a fucking gigantic scar on my face due to chickpox contracted when I was 8. It caused me a ton of angst growing up as I was convinced people were looking at it all the time. The varicella vaccine is one of the few things that make me wish I'd been born in the 90s instead of the 70s.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:05 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I got the chickenpox, everybody got the chickenpox, I never heard of anyone dying from it.

No?

Well, now you have. 50 kids/year before the chicken pox vaccine came into existence.
posted by zizzle at 8:16 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, I got the chickenpox, everybody got the chickenpox, I never heard of anyone dying from it.

I had the chickenpox at age 7, and had sores in my mouth, ears, crotch, and eyes. I didn't die, but the misery was out of this world. I was too sick to experience the only time it ever snowed on Christmas during my childhood. There is only one picture of me opening my presents that year, because I said I was "too ugly to look at" and I hid from my family the entire holiday.

That's all a big burden to put a on a little kid, especailly if it can be prevented. Death is not the only awful outcome of chickenpox.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:16 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


No it's not. There's an entire section of the Bible that takes place on Earth before Jesus was born.

You are confused in this regard. There is a reason why icons of the Creation depict Jesus doing it. The reason is that God created through his Word (λόγος "logos"), who is Jesus (see generally John, Chapter 1). In Christian theology, Jesus is co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit from before all ages. The Father was never without his Word and his Spirit.

It is correct to say that the events described in the Old Testament occurred before the Incarnation, but that does not mean they occurred before Jesus. This is the point of your confusion.

Again, you may disagree with the truth of the underlying theology, but that is what the theology teaches.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I used to watch The View; often interesting, sometimes entertaining. Lots of candidates and other politicians go on the show. The show is popular and influential. They're all annoying - I love Sherri Shepherd because she's funny, and a warm human being. And for everything she's ever said that shows she has a limited education, she's genuinely insightful about race, and people in general. Joy Behar, funny, smart, but almost as annoying as Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck is not terribly bright, and parrots Conservative crap. It's been fun to watch her gingerly accept gay rights. Whoopi is entertaining and shrewd. Barbara Walters is smart, hard-working, and has been in the news business a long, long time, and is a supremely talented name-dropper to boot.

And now this - Jenny McCarthy? McCarthy has used her celebrity status to spout ignorant nonsense. The View gives her credibility. I went to her Generation Rescue site - Hey look, here's how to get a legal exemption from having your child vaccinated to attend school. Her opposition to vaccines is willfully ignorant and absolutely anti-science. She continues to choose to believe in and promote bogus treatments. For all her criticism of vaccine researchers making money, she seems to be making quite a bit from her anti-vaccine crusade. So people don't vaccinate their kids. And kids get sick and some of them die. And kids who can't get immunized are at greater risk. McCarthy is selfish and dangerous, and she shouldn't be given a bigger platform.

The whole Indigo children and Crystal people, blah, blah. It's just another way for people to believe they're special.

I remember how happy my parents were when we could get polio vaccine. I'm so happy I didn't have to worry that my kid would get diptheria or whooping cough. I hope McCarthy's kids don't get a preventable disease. I watched the Frontline episode, and I hope those kids are safe, but those complacent parents who don't vaccinate piss me the hell off.
posted by theora55 at 8:22 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I got the world's mildest case of chicken pox which resulted in absolutely no misery for me (I was born before the vaccine was available), and I'm still in favour of the vaccine, though some of the reasons for it -- among others, the "it sticks around in your spine and if it comes back you're in big shit" -- had to be explained to me, even though I was in favour of other vaccines. It's hard to get this kind of information out there.
posted by jeather at 8:26 AM on July 16, 2013


For everybody who doesn't care about getting chicken pox, consider that even if you recover well from chicken pox, you have a trong likelihood of having shingles later in life, which is really, really, miserable.

Halloween Jack, thank you for sharing your experience.
posted by theora55 at 8:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is correct to say that the events described in the Old Testament occurred before the Incarnation, but that does not mean they occurred before Jesus. This is the point of your confusion.

He's right. Nobody fucks with the Jesus, dude.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:36 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a vax for that.
posted by zizzle at 8:37 AM on July 16, 2013


I got 'em twice. I'm hopeful that gives me a pass on shingles.
posted by Brak at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Again, you may disagree with the truth of the underlying theology, but that is what the theology teaches.

The View host in question wasn't talking about trinitarian theology, but rather asserting that ancient Greeks from the time of Epicurus had Christians and threw them to the lions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:40 AM on July 16, 2013


but rather asserting that ancient Greeks from the time of Epicurus had Christians and threw them to the lions.

Thank you. I found her quote of "I don't think anything predated Christians". Yes, she was wrong. That statement is different from "believe that Earth existed before Jesus."
posted by Tanizaki at 8:49 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


@ Stitcherbeast - That was in support of your comment - I apologize if it didn't seem so.
posted by JB71 at 8:53 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


@ theora55 - my mother got shingles when she was in her '70s. Now there's a shingles vaccination - and I'm planning on getting it in a couple of years, even though I had chickenpox as a kid.

Our bodies weren't designed to last so long, I think. All sorts of flaws show up as time goes by.

Breed early, raise your young to a point they're self-sufficient, and then get out of the way... it's the circle of life! (/sarc, if you couldn't tell...)

;-)
posted by JB71 at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2013


If shingles can be avoided then that's great, as shingles is fucking horrible.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2013


Has there been a rise in the incidence of shingles? I have noticed that commercials about shingles treatments have recently appeared on television.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2013


Okay, his is tangential but since we're discussing it: are y'all saying that the chicken pox vaccine could prevent shingles even in someone who had chicken pox already as a kid?

Because if so, that is damn great news for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on July 16, 2013


Vaccines are probably in the top-ten things humans have made that reduce suffering. (Antibiotics, clean running water, the pill, universalist ethics are some others.) To attack that accomplishment, to seek and succeed at undermining it is a monstrous and foolish act. Someone who does so should be more shunned from public life than someone who hypothetically pissed on the Mona Lisa.
posted by PMdixon at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, if you never get chickenpox, you will never get shingles. That was one of the things that turned me around on the chickenpox vaccine -- I had originally intended to delay it, because my elder child turned one right when they were discovering that the immunity wears off in about ten years, but before they had a booster. It seemed dumb for me to protect her against chickenpox only during the period when it was a moderately mild childhood disease and leave her vulnerable just in time for it to be a very serious illness, so I planned to vaccinate her if she hadn't had the disease by the time she was eleven. Then, by the time her younger brother was one, they had the booster & we'd learned about the shingles thing, so I got them both vaccinated.

My two year old, however, actually GOT chickenpox, despite being vaccinated! He was exposed on a plane flight before he got his second shot. However, his disease was SO mild; he got one flush of a dozen pox on his back, they healed in two days, and he never had any others. His viral load was so low they weren't even able to culture virus out of the pock fluid -- we're assuming it was chickenpox because it looked exactly like chickenpox. He was unable to infect anyone else, either. If that was the intended result of the chickenpox vaccine rather than the most common failure mode, I would STILL vax my kids against it, because it was two days of sadness rather than two weeks of misery.

The reason why adults are getting shingles more & younger than we used to, btw, is because of the chickenpox vax. Being continually re-exposed to the virus helps keep shingles at bay. Now that chickenpox is so much less common in the population, all of us who got chickenpox as children are having it re-erupt as shingles much more quickly. We may be the last generation to commonly suffer from it, though.
posted by KathrynT at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


From here:

As compared with the undervaccinated children, the unvaccinated children were more likely to be male, to be white, to belong to households with higher income, to have a married mother with a college education, and to live with four or more other children. Other studies have shown that children who are unvaccinated are likely to belong to families that intentionally refuse vaccines, whereas children who are undervaccinated are likely to have missed some vaccinations because of factors related to the health care system or sociodemographic characteristics.

I don't think think McCarthy converts people who don't already want to agree with her.
posted by discopolo at 9:58 AM on July 16, 2013


Whoopi is entertaining and shrewd.

I'll always love Whoopi. She's awesome.
posted by grubi at 10:04 AM on July 16, 2013


discopolo: "I don't think think McCarthy converts people who don't already want to agree with her."

I don't think this is actually true, and there appears to be some data on it.

About one in four adults said they were familiar with McCarthy's views about vaccines, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll taken in 2008. Of those adults, 40% said her claims made them more likely to question vaccine safety.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, the comments about her tits and physical appearance can stop anytime. Really.

Oh, you mean those things she parlayed into a pretty nice living as a celebrity? Okay, if she will stop exploiting them to promote her virulent messages.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, you mean those things she parlayed into a pretty nice living as a celebrity? Okay, if she will stop exploiting them to promote her virulent messages.

Dude, come on. The virulent messages are the thing to take issue with. Her woo-woo thinking is a thing to take issue with. To bring up how she became famous isn't. Nor is it worth discussing, since it reduces her and the it does no favors for the pro-vaxx argument.

If a woman of her level of fame who didn't trade on her sexuality to become famous was touting those same views, we wouldn't be making an issue or bringing up how she became famous. Because that part doesn't matter. Her horribly damaging position on the issues is the only thing that matters in the discussion.
posted by grubi at 11:14 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Very seriously stop it. There is a long open MeTa thread talking about this.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:17 AM on July 16, 2013


KathrynT: "My two year old, however, actually GOT chickenpox, despite being vaccinated! He was exposed on a plane flight before he got his second shot. However, his disease was SO mild; he got one flush of a dozen pox on his back, they healed in two days, and he never had any others. His viral load was so low they weren't even able to culture virus out of the pock fluid -- we're assuming it was chickenpox because it looked exactly like chickenpox. He was unable to infect anyone else, either. If that was the intended result of the chickenpox vaccine rather than the most common failure mode, I would STILL vax my kids against it, because it was two days of sadness rather than two weeks of misery.

I had chicken pox a couple of years ago and my two kids (who had been vaccinated once but didn't receive the booster shot until 2 days after I developed symptoms) did not get it. Despite their sneaking into bed to sleep next to me at every opportunity. Despite their literally playing connect the dots with their fingers on my face, arms and legs while I was sleeping.

The vaccine is miraculous stuff. Wish I'd had it when I was a kid. Some of the pox itched, but most of them burned. And man, they were everywhere. :P
posted by zarq at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES

THROW HER INTO THE PIT OF LEECHES


Ooh, do you have one? Cool.
posted by jennaratrix at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2013


Not until after she had self-diagnosed her son as a crystal child and herself as an indigo mom.

Oh god, that link, it kills me with sad hilarity!
posted by Theta States at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2013


I'll always love Whoopi. She's awesome.

Aside from the rape apologetics, presumably.
posted by elizardbits at 12:28 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uh wha?
posted by grubi at 12:30 PM on July 16, 2013


Whoopi disappointed me with her defense of Roman Polanski, which is what I suspect elizardbits is referring to.
posted by ambrosia at 12:33 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god, you're right. I forgot about that. Ugh.

More than a little disappointing.
posted by grubi at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2013


The New Yorker piles on: Executives at ABC should be ashamed of themselves for offering McCarthy a regular platform on which she can peddle denialism and fear to the parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety. Presumably, those executives have decided that the revenues Jenny McCarthy might generate are worth more than the truth. That’s their right. But it’s a strike against reason and progress and hope. That is a cost that the network won’t be able to afford for long, and neither will the rest of us.


The anti-vaxers have won, to the extent that the standard message is parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety. Vaccination is incredibly safe. Want to keep your kids safe? a. Vaccinate them b. Spend a lot less time in cars.
posted by theora55 at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


c. teach them to question popular culture more than medicine.
posted by grubi at 12:45 PM on July 16, 2013


The anti-vaxers have won, to the extent that the standard message is parents of young children who may have legitimate questions about vaccine safety. Vaccination is incredibly safe.

I have a friend, a very smart, pediatrician friend, who has given up arguing with the antivaxers and just tries to placate them. Their ignorance runs so deep and self-assured that even though she knows they are placing their and other children at risk, she has no hope of changing their minds. They have WEBSITES, dammit, and Jenny McCarthy. As a society there is a limit to the extent we can allow these people's ignorance to endanger the rest of us. It is child abuse and it is not excusable through arguments of autonomy, because their freedom ends at my grandchild's risk of contracting a virus from their children.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:17 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


A Slate columnist is even trying to petition The View to not hire Ms. McCarthy.

More from Phil Plait: The View Hires Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Jenny McCarthy
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, Halloween Jack beat me to it.
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on July 16, 2013


Bill Nye is of the opinion that giving her exposure will discredit the anti-vax movement even further. I guess hoping that wackadoo fades in the spotlight.

Here's hoping.
posted by supercres at 2:52 PM on July 16, 2013


I have a friend, a very smart, pediatrician friend, who has given up arguing with the antivaxers and just tries to placate them.

How does she that, exactly? Catering to delayed schedules, I assume?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:55 PM on July 16, 2013


So I understand how some parents will ignore the real threats from childhood diseases and focus on the bogus, especially when a 'celebrity' is pushing it.

I agree, and it's this very fear that makes McCarthy such an insidious figure.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:25 PM on July 16, 2013


Well, this thread has convinced me to get the stupid flu shot even though I don't wanna. I'm a massage therapist and I work on elderly peoole a lot. I wouldn't want to put them at risk.

And, come to think of it, chicken pox was damned awful, I still have scars.

Re: shingles- my grandparents just had to get a vax. They're both 80 and apparently quite at risk, according to the doctor a lot of people in their age group are getting them- so yeah, I think it's a thing.
posted by windykites at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2013


windykites, if it helps any, I never used to get the flu shot until I had kids, and even then I dragged my heels on it until I had H1N1, which was unbelievably brutal. But two years ago my husband came down with psoriatic arthritis, and now he has to take immunosuppressants. He doesn't look sick -- he's 43 and rides 120 miles a week to work and back on his bike, he looks fine -- but he can't get vaccines, and he CAN NOT get the flu. There are a lot of people like him out there, and behalf of all of them, thank you for getting the flu vax.
posted by KathrynT at 9:26 PM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kathryn T - like me! So, yes, thanks, windykites.

(although we can get the flu vaccine - killed virus)
posted by Pax at 6:07 AM on July 17, 2013


ThePinkSuperhero: " How does she that, exactly? Catering to delayed schedules, I assume?"

For whatever it's worth, our pediatrician strongly suggested that we space out the vaccination schedule for our kids because they were preemies. She does this for all the preemies in her practice. This essentially meant doing one a month (on average) instead of a bunch all at once every few months, during the first 12 months. She said that it also had the added advantage of allowing her (and her colleagues) to see and mark our kids' growth progress a little more frequently. We did it, and were not billed for extra visits.

My wife and I are not anti-vaxxers. In fact, we asked that our kids be given the rotavirus vaccine even though it isn't mandatory. She gave us the option of spacing out their vaccines into year 1 and we did so for the first few months and then switched to the regular schedule.
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on July 17, 2013


How does she that, exactly? Catering to delayed schedules, I assume?

She advises them on ways to lower their risk of becoming infected, how to manage them if they do to ensure they don't infect anyone else, and generally tries to act compassionate about their choice. Not sure what you mean about delayed schedules. These are antivaxers, not delayers.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:15 AM on July 17, 2013


I was under the impression many pediatricians are now turning away patients whose parents refuse to vaccinate. But by remaining involved the pediatrician just might be able to ameliorate the parents' choice. To the kid's benefit.

It seems like a crappy situation all around.
posted by zarq at 11:02 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do Jenny McCarthy's antivax views stem from the indigo child movement?
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If The View wants to up their crazy quotient, I wish they'd hire Courtney Love instead of McCarthy.
posted by inertia at 1:42 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That would be a fun day.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on July 19, 2013


She has met Barbara Walters, after all.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:54 PM on July 19, 2013


Levity: Fictional TV Science And Medicine Types Who Would Be Less Dangerous Than Jenny McCarthy As Hosts Of The View
posted by kimberussell at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2013


MCCARTHY / POLIO 2016!

Great, just what America needs, another legacy candidate.


Candidate Polio's chances are much stronger in Pakistan these days.
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on July 22, 2013


On The Media’s Bob Garfield’s take:
... Now look, this is America. McCarthy is entitled to say any stupid thing she wishes to, but how can a television network be so cynical as to enable her? As long as McCarthy is treated as a credible voice, the anti-vaccine canard will not die. Unvaccinated children, however, will. As Brendan Nyhan observed in the Columbia Journalism Review, “The damage is already being done. Such news organizations as the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Salon and the Associated Press characterized McCarthy's misinformation as controversial. But there is no controversy. She is simply wrong.

By dutifully reporting her ravings side-by-side with truth, they have framed anti-vaccine quackery as a debate. This latest outbreak of ABC's PT Barnum-ism – you’ll recall that last week we played you Barbara Walters interviewing a fake Dutchess of Cambridge - confers two lessons. One is that these people will do anything for ratings. The other is this:
If you are a smoking hot Holocaust denier, get yourself an agent.
This may be your time.

posted by blueberry at 11:21 PM on July 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older The Flying Man....  |  The 14th moon of the planet Ne... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments