polio vaccine

Anti- AntiVaccination: The battle continues

#dropjenny: Tell ABC that Jenny McCarthy’s pseudoscience is not welcome on The View (@theviewtv)

Update 1: Ottawa public health reports a case of measles in an unimmunized child – the first since January 2011:

“The risk to the public is very limited,” said Dr. Lindy Samson, Chief of Infectious Diseases at CHEO. “Immunization is the best protection from measles. Everyone should ensure that their vaccines are up to date.”

The reported incidence of measles in Ottawa is very low as most of the population has been vaccinated. Despite the rarity of this disease in Ottawa, it is very important for all residents to keep their vaccinations up to date.

Update 2: Toronto public health weighs in, and provides an enlightening infographic.

In 1998 Andrew Wakefield published a fraudulent paper linking autism to the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. What followed was a growing movement of scared parents who began avoiding getting their kids vaccinated for fear that they would become autistic. For years scientists could not repeat the results found by Wakefield. Finally in 2004, Wakefield was found to have a conflict of interest in favour of finding a link between the vaccine and autism. In May of 2010, Andrew Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council and was struck of the medical register and banned from practicing medicine. The rumour campaign against vaccines was picked up by Jenny McCarthy, an actress with no scientific or medical background. She became the mouthpiece for the supposed controversy, despite the fact that there was no scientific basis for any of the claims she made. Despite this, her fame allowed her greater publicity. She used her son’s supposed autism to gain sympathy, and to tug at the heartstrings of worried parents everywhere.

Hordes of new parents opted against vaccines. Not just the MMR, but others as well. Parents began sending pox pops to one another, and holding chicken pox parties. Adults who had previously had their vaccines, opted against getting their regular boosters. Since that time, the western world has seen a re-emergence of various diseases that before this time had been on their way to extinction: whooping cough, measles, mumps, and many more.  When confronted about their choice, many will answer:

“It’s my kids/my health, I’m not hurting anyone else”

But, the truth they don’t want to face is that it’s not themselves, or at least not just themselves, they are hurting. They are also hurting people whose immune systems have been compromised. People who have autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s or colitis, like lupus, diseases like HIV and AIDs, people on chemo or who have had an organ transplant, the elderly, and children. These are the people who will not only get sick, but are those most likely to suffer serious consequences like disability, even death as a result. They are the people who rely on group immunity: who for one reason or another could not get the vaccine. People who, even if they were vaccinated, may not have enough of an immune response to fight off the illness.

In February of 2013, the Ottawa Cancer Foundation invited Jenny McCarthy to paticipate in their “Bust A Move” fundraising drive.  The Ottawa Skeptics launched their #dropjenny campaign on twitter and social media, and as a result, the OCF cancelled McCarthy’s appearance.

Now,  ABC TV is looking to have Jenny McCarthy replace one of the hosts of the VIEW, which would give Jenny  a new platform from which to spout her dangerous anti-science and anti-medicine ideas.  It’s time to restart the #DropJenny campaign on twitter and help encourage ABC to reconsider their decision to give her a spot on their popular daytime TV show.

Help defend science, medicine, and reason, and those who cannot defend themselves. Tell @ABC @theviewtv to #DropJenny!

You can also sign a petition started by Voices for Vaccines here.

(More on the Ottawa #dropjenny campaign at Scribbles and Rants.)

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