Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy want your children to die
April 22, 2009 by William K. Wolfrum
In a logical-fallacy-filled diatribe in today’s Huffington Post, comedic actor Jim Carrey- either blinded by love of Jenny McCarthy, or easily brainwashed by conspiricists – lays out his case for why parents should be filled with fear when it comes to vaccinating their children. What makes Carrey’s opinions fly past the realm of reality and into the ridiculous and harmful, is this recent story from the Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON — An unusual series of five measles cases in the Washington area prompted public-health officials from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia Monday to start an awareness campaign to urge people to protect themselves from the potentially deadly disease.
Officials also planned to announce details of recent measles activity in the area, including places, dates and times when people may have been exposed to the illness as part of the recent cases.
And this AP story on the same subject:
Earlier this month, health officials announced that four cases had been reported in Montgomery County since February. Officials believe these cases may have originated with an unvaccinated adult returning from abroad.
The American vaccination program is arguable the most successful medical program in the history of the planet. And while Carrey relies on well-worded but essentially factless rhetoric, the truth of vaccines are impossible to ignore. From a well-footnoted section of Wikipedia:
In 1958 there were 763,094 cases of measles and 552 deaths in the United States. With the help of new vaccines, the number of cases dropped to fewer than 150 per year (median of 56). In early 2008, there were 64 suspected cases of measles. 54 out of 64 infections were associated with importation from another country, although only 13% were actually acquired outside of the United States; 63 of these 64 individuals either had never been vaccinated against measles, or were uncertain whether they had been vaccinated.
While those better versed on the subject that I will undoubtedly give a full and complete destruction of Carrey’s conspiratorial diatribe against vaccines, his reliance on the old canard – that mercury in the form of thimerosal in vaccines is giving children autism:
If you can over-immunize a dog, is it so far out to assume that you can over-immunize a child? These forward thinking vets also decided to remove thimerosal from animal vaccines in 1992, and yet this substance, which is 49% mercury, is still in human vaccines. Don’t our children deserve as much consideration as our pets?
This is just a flat-out lie on the part of Carrey to inspire fear and advance his reckless cause.
Many vaccines need preservatives to prevent serious adverse effects such as the Staphylococcus infection that, in one 1928 incident, killed 12 of 21 children inoculated with a diphtheria vaccine that lacked a preservative. Several preservatives are available, including thiomersal, phenoxyethanol, and formaldehyde. Thiomersal is more effective against bacteria, has better shelf life, and improves vaccine stability, potency, and safety, but in the U.S., the European Union, and a few other affluent countries, it is no longer used as a preservative in childhood vaccines, as a precautionary measure due to its mercury content. Controversial claims have been made that thiomersal contributes to autism; no convincing scientific evidence supports these claims.
Add to that the fact that numerous studies have been done on Thiomersal, all coming up with the same conclusion – it does not cause autism in children:
Thiomersal, also spelled thimerosal, is an organomercury compound used as a preservative in vaccines since the 1930s to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination. In July 1999, following a review of mercury-containing food and drugs, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked vaccine makers to remove thiomersal from vaccines as quickly as possible, and it was rapidly phased out of most U.S. and European vaccines. This action was based on the precautionary principle, which assumes that there is no harm in exercising caution even if it later turns out to be unwarranted. However, the removal of thiomersal coincided with statements from scientific bodies indicating that it was harmless, sparking confusion and controversy that has diverted attention and resources away from other efforts to find the causes of autism. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. to seek damages from alleged toxicity from vaccines, including those purportedly caused by thiomersal.
The scientific consensus—including scientific and medical bodies such as the Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization as well as governmental agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC—rejects any role for thiomersal in autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders. Multiple lines of scientific evidence have been cited to support this conclusion: for example, the clinical symptoms of mercury poisoning differ significantly from those of autism. Most conclusively, eight major studies (as of 2008) examined the effect of reductions or removal of thiomersal from vaccines. All eight demonstrated that autism rates failed to decline despite removal of thiomersal, arguing strongly against a causative role.
So the fact is this: Not only is using thiomersal as some type of boogieman to scare parents away from vaccinating their children an outright falsehood, it actually completely debunks the claim made by uninformed anti-vaccinationists. I defer to Phil Plait on the subject:
I just can’t make this any clearer. Vaccines do not cause autism. Study after study has shown this, in multiple ways. The removal of the MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) vaccine in Japan did not lead to a decline in the number of cases of autisms diagnosed; instead the number of children falling in the autism spectrum increased.
The studies are in. The vaccine program is a not a vast conspiracy. It is a successful program that has literally wiped many dangerous illnesses off the continent. The only conspiracy on the subject is the one endlessly and ignorantly pursued by Carrey and McCarthy. For The Huffington Post to even run Carrey’s article based on his celebrity is irresponsible, unless they next plan to be running stories by Charlie Sheen on the how the U.S. government is behind 9/11 and devolve into a conspiracy site.
Whether their heart is in the right place is irrelevant, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, and by extension Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington , CNN and others that give them a soap box – are endangering American children.