In the pacific northwest a measles outbreak is underway, and I’m not saying that Jenny McCarthy is responsible; I’m just here to point out that a few years ago she was the celebrity spokesmodel for the anti-vaxx movement.
I’m not saying that McCarthy is criminally liable; just morally…at least a little. Remember — the measles pandemic working it’s way through Washington right now got a lot of help from the same movement that McCarthy was a champion of. For a few years, she was on TV and in magazines smearing sound science in the desperate attempt to find what “causes” autism, as if that’s even how autism works.
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McCarthy didn’t attack the roots of common sense alone though. She had help from people you’d think would know better — actual doctors with medical degrees.
Dr. Jay Gordon, MD was McCarthy’s pediatrician at the time that she — and Jim Carey — stoked the “vaccines cause autism” fires of stupidity. I’ll never understand how someone whose literal job it is to heal sick kids could possibly get behind a push to give less life-saving medical treatment to children, not more, but Gordon apparently believed he was working for the greater good — if not the greater good of checking account — at the time. If you ask me, Dr. Gordon should be volunteering his time to go do house calls to kids stricken with measles in Washington, but I guess what he did instead is at least a bare minimum attempt to atone for his gross dereliction of his charge to “do no harm,” and is worthy of a similar amount of praise.
Dr. Gordon took to his Twitter account two days ago and urged parents to get their kids vaccinated.
If you are living in the midst of a measles outbreak and you have an older unvaccinated child to whom you have been reluctant to give the MMR, now's the time. There are personal AND public health considerations.
— Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP (@JayGordonMDFAAP) February 9, 2019
I don’t think anyone who rolls their eyes a little — or a lot — at Gordon’s tweets can be blamed. It’s rich to read that he believes now there are “personal and public health considerations” that warrant getting your child vaccinated. When there wasn’t an outbreak of a horrific but preventable disease with his name all over it threatening to unleash hell, he was more than willing to cast skeptical doubt on the need for vaccines. The amount of tragic in irony in Gordon’s tweet threatens the world’s supply of the stuff, to be sure.
That being said, this is also a chance for Gordon to be commended for having the good sense to recommend common sense when it’s most desperately needed. Humanity won’t ever progress if people aren’t allowed to grow and learn and do better after they make mistakes. Dr. Gordon does rightly deserve credit for not only telling his followers — most of which I have to think are anti-vaxxers — the right thing, but also for hopefully seeing how incorrect he was before and reversing his stance on vaccines.
We can hold off on baking him a cake and ordering streamers and party hats though. The fact is that a pediatrician’s default position should always be to vaccinate. There is no link between vaccination and autism, and Gordon sought to make himself famous by putting the thought in people’s minds that there could be. Dr. Gordon doesn’t need a Nobel Prize or Congressional Medal of Honor for this.
What would be nice is if McCarthy (and Carey) would join Dr. Gordon and publicly urge people to vaccinate their unvaccinated children ASAP. For as cynical as we can be about Gordon’s tweet, at least he is attempting to make things right now. Here’s hoping they see his tweet and follow suit. It’s never a bad thing to have more voices in the no duh chorus.
And as always we remind you: Vaccines work. Vaccinate your children. Vaccinate yourself. Your fellow herdmates appreciate it.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.