In defense of Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy has been at the center of the vaccine controversy for years now. The criticism directed toward her is growing as childhood diseases spread as a natural response to kids not being vaccinated. McCarthy is not the first and only anti-vaccine celebrity. She’s just perhaps the most outspoken.

When she went on Oprah in 2007 to explain and defend her stance on the vaccine and autism link, I watched, terrified and riveted. What I saw was a mother who passionately believed that the MMR vaccine injected into her son caused him to develop autism. She was trying to warn parents of the dangers of vaccines, and she was pushing for the medical community to develop safer vaccines.

With my baby in my arms, I wondered if she could be right. So I researched. I spoke with my child’s pediatrician. I researched some more. I eventually delayed the MMR shot for my son. It wasn’t long until Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s study, where McCarthy gathered a lot of her information, was debunked and Dr. Wakefield lost his medical license. To me, the safest option was to vaccinate.

If parents choose only take Jenny McCarthy’s word for it and are too irresponsible to gather research their own, it is the fault of those parents. Jenny McCarthy is an actress, activist, former Playboy bunny, author, and mother. She is NOT a doctor or a scientist. She is not responsible for how anyone cares for their own children.

Jenny McCarthy may be misguided and outspoken, but it’s wrong to blame her for the spread of childhood diseases.