I owe an apology

Like many, I have fallen trap to a Facebook hoax. I reshared a link that stated Jenny McCarthy informed the world that her son did not have autism. Thankfully she was quick to rebuke the misleading information. By misinformation I am speaking to the fact that she has never said her son does not have autism.

I rarely reshare celebrity stories or thoughts because I usually do not believe (or care about) the hype.  But in this case it hit a nerve.


I admire Ms. McCarthy for being a proponent of autism education. I admire her dedication to her son and her willingness to say this is what autism looks like. I do wish more people would say MAY look like.  As any friend of mine with a child who has autism will tell you, they are unique from the color of their hair to their behavior to their abilities.

However her strong campaign against vaccination is something I cannot agree. It worries me when people use a celebrity endorsement to justify their own actions or non-actions. It is one thing to decide to go gluten-free to do your own investigation on how your child will react. It is another not to vaccinate your child (and potentially expose other children) to a life-threatening disease. In the only published study linking vaccinations to autism the lead researcher lost his medical license due to his irresponsibility in the conduction of the study and the study was revoked from medical publication. 

I understand that you can interpret a study to suit your purpose. Pro- or anti- vaccine link. I am not speaking to that as I am completely inept at that discussion.To paraphrase the Vice President of Clinical Innovation at Cedars-Sinai stated to the National Geographic: you can have an opinion but you cannot state that opinion as fact.

I have two different views on this subject, from two ladies I both respect and admire.

The first is a mom who decided not to vaccinate her children. However she did this after reading medical journals, doing her own research and consultation with her children’s pediatricians.

The second is a mom who vaccinated her children, but to her it was a deep seeded belief to vaccinate. Her mom was a polio survivor. But survivor is probably a poor term. Her mother was a polio warrior. One who suffered in the time before vaccination. She fought polio until her death at age 70. Her children watched her suffer and live with grace.

Myself? I honestly didn’t think of it with either child. I automatically vaccinated them. However with Boo I spoke with her pediatrician and they modified the schedule due to her health issues. Our Pedi is great. She is very conservative when it comes to vaccinations–even the flu shot–and will minimize the quantity of vaccinations given at one visit. And if you have a runny nose? She will reschedule your appointment and not six months from now. Just call and stop by. She is quite awesome, in addition to saving Boo’s life five years ago.

I am on my soapbox here, and I admit it. I also have no problem telling you and everyone else my opinion on something. But you should never use a “Jenn said” as your reason for choosing a course of action with your child.  

As far as autism and the decision not to vaccinate, research has proven that there is no correlation. In most cases this would be a non-issue. The studies have proven time and again that there is no link. However celebrity causes will continue to advocate for more research. Which is great, that is what you should advocate: more research not telling a scared mom that a vaccine gave her child autism.

The decision not to vaccinate your child should be based on your own research, consultation with your physician and a heck of a lot of soul-searching.

But never on the basis of a celebrity. 

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