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Who cares what celebrities think about vaccines?

Parents Magazine published an article in which it listed what various celebrity moms think of vaccines. Unfortunately, it was an example of false equivalence. Indeed, it was one of the worst examples of false equivalence I’ve ever seen.

Celebrity antivaccine loons are all too common, and I’ve written about them over the years. For instance, there’s JennyMcCarthy. There are also Rob Schneider and Mayim Bialik. The list goes on There are also pro-vaccine celebrities, such as Amanda Peet. Of course, as tempting as it is simply to throw up my hands and say “Who cares what celebrities think about scientific and medical topics like vaccines” unfortunately in the real world people do care. That’s why we see articles like this from Parents Magazine, Where 13 Celebrity Parents Stand on Vaccinating Their Kids:

Ugh. Just ugh.

This article is one of the most annoying examples of false equivalence that I’ve seen. On the one side, we have nine pro-vaccine celebrities:

  • Kirsten Bell
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Kendra Wilkinson
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Tia Mowry
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Amanda Peet
  • Salma Hayek
  • Julie Bowen

Arrayed against them, we have four antivaccine celebrities:

  • Kristin Cavallari
  • Mayim Bialik
  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy? Really? How irresponsible is it to present the opinion of one of the leaders of the antivaccine movement over the last decade as being a valid take on vaccines? Take a look:

Jenny McCarthy, whose son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005, has famously been a vocal critic of vaccines. But in an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, she clarified that “blatantly inaccurate blog posts about my position” presented her incorrectly as being anti-vaccine. “I believe in the importance of a vaccine program and I believe parents have the right to choose one poke per visit,” she wrote. “I’ve never told anyone to not vaccinate. I’m in this gray zone of, I think everyone should be aware and educate yourself and ask questions. And if your kid is having a problem, ask your doctor for an alternative way of doing the shots.”

Um, no. That’s nothing more than the old “I’m not ‘antivaccine’; I’m pro-safe vaccine” or “I’m not ‘antivaccine’; I’m a vaccine safety activist” gambit. In fact, I discussed the very op-ed referred to above when it was originally published and explained in detail why it did not show that Jenny McCarthy is not antivaccine. As I put it at the time, what do you call someone who repeats common antivaccine tropes? Either she’s antivaccine or she’s so scientifically ignorant as to be uneducable. Take your pick about McCarthy. Personally, although I’m not impressed in the least by her intellectual firepower, I don’t think she’s more than a standard deviation below the mean in IQ.

No, Jenny McCarthy is as antivaccine as they come, as I’ve documented on many occasions. For instance, she buys into the incredibly fallacious “toxins gambit,” in which antivaxers claim there are all sorts of horrific toxins in vaccines. She also frequently drives the stupidity about vaccines to ever higher levels. Of course, McCarthy has been very good at rewriting her history and sending the inconvenient bits down the old memory hole. Before she emerged as the antivaccine “warrior mom” trying to rid the world of autism by blaming it on vaccines and promoting biomedical quackery, Jenny McCarthy promoted New Age in which she ran a website devoted to what was referred to as Indigo Moms, believing that her son Evan was a “Crystal Child.” Tellingly, her IndigoMoms.com website disappeared shortly before the release of her first autism book in 2007, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. She obviously made the strategic decision that she couldn’t be seen to be associated with such New Age nonsense if she was ever going to be taken seriously as a crusader for autism. So she sent her old website down the memory hole, never to be seen again. She’s been trying to do the same thing with her antivaccine views, but it just hasn’t been working.

Of course, McCarthy isn’t the only one who’s antivaccine featured by Parents Magazine. There’s also Mayim Bialik:

Mayim Bialik opted not to vaccinate her two sons after “we researched every single vaccine, and we spoke about each individual vaccine with our pediatrician. We went to the CDC sources,” the actress and author told NPR. “The things that people choose to vaccinate against are not necessarily things that were vaccinated against 20, 30 years ago. My feeling is everyone gets to decide and do research based on their family and their needs as to what they want to do.”

As I documented nearly six years ago, in actuality Mayim Bialik is heavily into all manner of woo. So into woo is she that she has been a celebrity spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network. What is the Holistic Moms Network? Actually, the name should say it all to you. Picture the sort of organization that would name itself the Holistic Moms Network, turn it up to 11, and then multiply it by another 11, and you have an idea. The Holistic Moms Network is a cesspit of “natural” parenting, where “natural” apparently means embracing every form of “natural” woo known to humans. Not surprisingly, the Holistic Moms Network is also antivaccine, just like Mayim Bialik.

Then there’s Kristin Cavallari. Let’s just say that she’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, the sharpest knife in the drawer, or whatever metaphor you like to use for stupid. Clearly, she buys into all manner of antivaccine nonsense:

Kristin Cavallari stirred up controversy when she admitted during an appearance on Fox News that she hadn’t vaccinated son Camden. “At the end of the day, I’m just a mom. I’m trying to make the best decision for my kid,” the reality star and shoe designer (who also has son Jaxon and daughter Saylor with football star husband Jay Cutler) said when she later defended her decision on Watch What Happens Live. “There are very scary statistics out there regarding what is in vaccines and what they cause—asthma, allergies, ear infections, all kinds of things. And we feel like we’re making the best decision for our kids.”

No. No, you’re not. You’re leaving them open to potentially deadly infectious dieseases. Those “scary statistics” are not real statistics at all, but made-up or exaggerated “statistics” spread by the antivaccine movement, and Cavallari fell for them completely.

Another thing that annoyed me about this article is that even some of the pro-vaccine celebrity moms had a tendency to paint their decision to vaccinate as hard, oh so terribly hard. For instance:

Deciding to vaccinate her sons wasn’t easy for Julie Bowen. “I cried making the decision, I’m not gonna lie,” the Modern Family star told WebMD. “But I spoke with my sister, who is an infectious disease doctor—and then also with my own doctor and my pediatrician, who said to me: ‘By not vaccinating your children, you’re putting them at serious risk.’ That was it for me. Once I made that decision, there were a few tears, mostly mine—but now all three boys are on regular vaccination schedules.” The actress even became the national spokesperson for the “Faces of Influenza” public awareness campaign about the importance of getting an annual flu shot.

While I’m glad that Bowen ultimately decided that vaccinating her child is the way to go and listened to her sister, who clearly knows what’s best with respect to vaccinating children, at the same time I can’t help but be a bit irritated at how her decision was portrayed as a horribly difficult one. It shouldn’t be, and having a celebrity portray it as such is not helpful, as we can see with the case of Kendra Wilson:

Kendra Wilkinson was very conflicted about whether or not to vaccinate son Hank when he was a baby. “Vaccinations are a controversial topic and it can be really confusing whether or not vaccinations are a good or bad thing for your child,” the reality star (who’s also mom to daughter Alijah) explained on her website. “But after having him I had to make a quick decision—I mean the paper was right in front me after giving birth—and I had to check yes or no and I checked yes. I felt it was better for me and better for him. It was a hard decision to make.”

Why was it a hard decision to make? It shouldn’t have been. It wouldn’t have been, were it not for the pseudoscience, misinformation, and lies spread by the antivaccine movement. In fact, there’s a lesson there. The only reason vaccinating is a difficult choice for some parents is because of the misinformation spread by the antivaccine movement, as I have discussed many times. Absent that, it would be (and should be) a no-brainer.

In fact, I can’t help but ask: Who the hell cares what celebrities think about vaccines? They are not experts. They know no more than the average parent. Yet, here we see them being held up as being worth listening to. Never mind that what we are seeing here is false equivalence at its worst.

Really. Who cares what celebrities think about vaccines?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

78 replies on “Who cares what celebrities think about vaccines?”

Well, ugh, of course.

Mayim Bialik seems to think it’s not a good thing that “The things that people choose to vaccinate against are not necessarily things that were vaccinated against 20, 30 years ago.” I’m not a physician, but one of my best friends is an pediatrician nearing retirement who marvels at how diseases he saw at the beginning of his career have become very rare. And he is old enough to remember holding in his arms infants who were dying of these now nearly eradicated diseases.

As for Ms. Silverstone, I don’t follow celebrities, but I do read The Onion, and her reputation as a dingbat appears to go back a ways:

https://entertainment.theonion.com/actress-opens-poorly-conceived-animal-shelter-1819567229

When you consider Silverstone’s most famous movie role, the jokes write themselves. I’m not aware without looking it up whether she’s had any starring roles since then.

I don’t follow celebrities either. I’ve only heard of four of the “pro-vaccine” group (Garner, Lopez, Gellar, and Hayek) and three of the anti-vaccine group (Bialik, McCarthy, and Silverstone).

Thank you for saying this and my position forever now. Celebrities are entertainers and should not be looked upon as experts in anything other than their craft. Even Bailik’s neuroscience PhD didn’t save her from going full-on woo so what good is using that as an appeal to authority? Besides it isn’t as though she is a practising scientist; she’s an actor first and foremost.

One has to wonder about the quality of her PhD to begin with. Just getting a degree doesn’t assure that the act was a productive one.

This bothers me about degrees, actually. Developing expertise is setting up for argument by authority on the basis of the assumption that the degree provides sufficient demonstration of expertise that the bearer is a valid, capable authority on some subject. I read not long ago about Shaquille O’Neal making some media statements in support of Flat Earth conspiracies… and it bothered me to no end that he could do that, even as a conscious jest, when he supposedly has a Doctorate in Education. What is the use of a degree if the whole point was just to put a couple letters after your name? Aren’t you supposed to have loyalty to what the degree signifies, if you were taught correctly? If all you want is a couple letters after your name, two years for a PhD in quantum medicine from a diploma mill is by far a more efficient choice than getting a more or less honorary doctorate from a respectable institution and then simply wearing the letters.

I recall being thoroughly underwhelmed by her dissertation. Long on literature review and then… survey data? I’d have to go back to the library for Proquest.

Shaq originally said the earth was flat, but then walked it back by saying, “Of course the Earth is round, I was just joking… y’gotta know if I said it, it was probably in fun.” The problem is that B.O.B. and Kyrie Irving aren’t joking and Shaq has a doctorate in education and really ought to care about the propagation of the truth by public figures. Does his degree make him an authority on good education or not? I honestly don’t think he cares: his degree is like Mayim Bialik’s… it’s ego warmer tacked at the end of his name.

Prince and the late Dick Gregory were into chemtrails, with the latter also having a spectacular rant about manganese at the State of the Black Union. I forget whether Spike Lee is sympathetic.

The dissertation is here, if anyone with access cares (I had forgotten about all the z”l’s at the beginning). There’s no meat until around page 100, and that’s mostly TVP. The degree seems to comprise a few tables toward the end.

Oh. Protip, Mayim: There’s no acute accent in “per se.” This thing is barely readable. In chapter 9, we finally learn that neither of the hormonal measures is normally distributed in either the controls or the PWS subjects, so really fat logarithmic bins it is.

Apologies in advance for pointing out a typo in the Mayim Bialik section, but “antivaccinem” is just too fortuitous a neologism to pass up. I propose that this new word be inscribed into the Homeopathic Babble as a pseudo-Latin cure for something—if only it worked on anti-vaccinationism. Somewhat trickier is that a mother tincture made from Holistic Moms would be required, so someone would have to collect sanctimommy samples. Said mommies might be expected to object, if this were taken literally, and field volunteers might be scarce—I, for one, find them tedious beyond words. However, each Orac post on the topic contains small samples of their electrons… and protects the public against the woo. So maybe homeoprophylaxis works, after all. 😉

Anyway, thanks for giggle.

You are not alone in finding this type of coverage annoying. I’ve never understood (except in the abstract) why people look to celebrities for guidance or opinions in the first place, much less on anything outside their bailiwick. Including prominent antivax figures strikes me as more of the same false equivalency, and I’d hoped we’d put that behind us by now.

A lot of the confusion that makes vaccination a hard decision comes from AVers saturating the internet with their lies, whereas those who should be the big players in the push for vaccination have sat on the sideline, not engaging these anti-vaccine groups head on. Go to the AAP web sites and see if you can find anything saying Andrew Wakefield propagated a fraud, or that the NVIC is full of crap (along with his movie VAXXED), as are Mercola, Adams, GreenMed, Tenpenny, Humprhies, Sears, Gordon, Thomas, Wolfson, etc. You’ll find nothing of the sort. It’s like these groups don’t exist and I’m sure that leaves parents searching their web pages puzzled as to how a pro-vaccine group could completely ignore anti-vaccinationists such as these.

It’s very sad the AAP (as well as the AMA and AAFP) won’t summon the courage to put their clout against these lying packs of anti-vaccinationists. And because they won’t, too many parents are left making the wrong decision. Heck, when the AAP posts a pro-vaccine article on their Facebook page, they let it be overrun by AVers, without any refutation.

Probably the best summary of what the AAP, AMA and AAFP are doing (which is essentially nothing but waving pom poms every so often) is set forth by Greg Poland MD, who in a 2011 article titled “MMR Vaccine and Autism: Vaccine Nihilism and Postmodern Science” wrote: “At this point, the antivaccine groups and conspiracy proponents promoting such an association should be ignored, much as thinking people simply ignore those who continue to insist that the earth is flat or that the US moon landing in 1969 did not really occur.” That was wrong then–and it’s even more wrong now.

Cavallari was a patient of the late antivaccine Dr. Eisenstein, if I remember correctly, and he should likely have some of the responsibility for her choice not to protect her kids.

That apart, I agree with your starting points. Celebrities aren’t an authority on this, and portraying this as a controversy this way is unfair to parents.

If McCarthy is concerned about “toxins” in vaccines, why would she want parents to expose their children to more “toxins” by only giving one vaccine at a time?

The things that people choose to vaccinate against are not necessarily things that were vaccinated against 20, 30 years ago.

Well, yeah. Back in the day, smallpox and polio were included. And we liked it.

Seriously, we did. Polio came on a sugar cube. It made getting other shots at the same time a little less daunting.

Smallpox wasn’t a scary thing, it was a ‘scratch’. But the scab it raised up would often get itchy. Todays mommies would raise a real hissy fit if they saw one. I think I had 2 or 3 of those, but only 1 left a scar.

I had no difficulty decided to have my children vaccinated with the vaccines that were then available. I wanted them all. I’m quite sure my pediatrician dined out on the story of this mother who yelled at him because the smallpox vaccine was no longer available. I did calm down when he explained why, but I wasn’t happy about it.

Of all those celebrities, I only know 2, Jennifer Lopez and Mayim Bialik and neither of them would be someone to listen to for any health advice.
Jenny McCarthy, I only know through this and other skeptical blogs.

It makes me sad to realise that people rather listen to the advice of all kinds of celebrities, than to people who really have knowledge on the subject at hand.

UNFORTUNATELY, lots of people do care what celebrities think : they follow their musings on twitter, photos on Instagram, emulate their style or exercise routines and buy products that they endorse or create: two of the women featured have product lines ( Silverstone has Kind and Hayek, Nuance). So yes, people do listen to their advice on health and beauty to a degree..

The article was ridiculous: presenting 9 who support vaccines and 4 who don’t may suggest that that is some sort of realistic ratio discovered in the opinions of the general public. I truly doubt that it is. Are almost a third of mothers anti-vaccine?

The magazine should have been less ‘balanced’ in its approach to the topic and could have included data about vaccination rates, outbreaks of VPDs and maybe, just maybe some information about how vaccine phobia affected vaccination rates in the UK post Andy and how illnesses that had become rare appeared again or something at least about measles in California and changes to the exemption rules in the very recent past.

AND no details about how McCarthy affected vaccination in the US. . .

CLARIFICATION:

Silverstone’s products are not KIND, the healthy snack bar but a series of books ( The Kind Mama or suchlike) and a website, thekindlife.com, that expound upon a vegan, animal-friendly, green lifestyle.

Who is Kylie Jenner?

No don’t tell me, ignorance may be preferred.

Part of the problem with celebrities is that they appear as successful (and often attractive) people. For this reason they are looked up to and their advice on lots of topics followed.

Sadly many celebrities are under-educated, but most think all their utterings are brilliant and need to be shared with the rest of the world. As a result, they are easily taken in by shysters. So we get this sort of nonsense about medicine, about food, about agriculture, and so on.

Who is Kylie Jenner?

Have you seen the classic made-for-TV movie The Loneliest Runner? Not related.

No don’t tell me, ignorance may be preferred.

I take it my work here is complete. Connect the dots. Bonus for working in more. I may have to review Duel.

The reason there is a movement questioning the safety of some vaccines is that some of them have resulted in harm: cognitive damage, developmental delays, autism, ADD, ADHD, and multiple kinds of auto-immune diseases. 4.6 billion dollars have been awarded in compensation to vaccine-damaged families. Many more have not received compensation because the damage has been judged “not serious enough”. If people want to vaccinate, and use all the vaccines on the vaccination schedule they are free to do so. But freedom to choose what is put into one’s body is a human right. Those who choose to limit vaccination, or avoid it, should have the right to opt out. Many pediatricians who have treated both vaccinated and unvaccinated children have gone on record saying that the fewer vaccines their young patients have received, the healthier they are. Internationally, the countries with the least vaccinated populations are also the countries with the fewest cognitive delays and disabilities, and the fewest auto-immune diseases.

…some [vaccines] have resulted in harm: cognitive damage, developmental delays, autism, ADD, ADHD, and multiple kinds of auto-immune diseases.

Vaccines have been disproved as a cause of autism. Citation needed that vaccines have caused the other items on your list.

Many pediatricians who have treated both vaccinated and unvaccinated children have gone on record saying that the fewer vaccines their young patients have received, the healthier they are.

Again, citation needed. And from proper doctors, not chiropractors, Naturopaths or Homeopaths.

Internationally, the countries with the least vaccinated populations are also the countries with the fewest cognitive delays and disabilities, and the fewest auto-immune diseases.

How odd. It’s as if countries that don’t have properly functioning healthcare systems don’t have the facilities to diagnose and assist those with cognitive disabilities and don’t have the facilities to distribute vaccines. Oh wait.
Again, citation needed.

The benefits of vaccines far far far outweigh their risks. And I call BS on your claim that “Many pediatricians who have treated both vaccinated and unvaccinated children have gone on record saying that the fewer vaccines their young patients have received, the healthier they are.” As a pediatrician I’ve seen unvaccinated infants fighting for their life in the PICU and saw an unvaccinated 2 year old die from Hib meningitis/sepsis. I never want to see that again. The vast majority of pediatricians will tell you that vaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children. The ones who don’t are, I’m certain, the quacks I mentioned above in my earlier posts–quacks who are all selling their own untested wares/books/supplements to the public. And their are also studies showing vaccinated children are healthier and Orac’s written on this as well, but I’ll leave that for you to find.

Please would a celeb speak out against celebs speaking out on shit?

“I’m a celeb stupid, I know squit-all about anything! Go find out what leading specialists have to say on the subject and let me get on with my job of being famous.”

Jimmy Kimmel (sorta) did, even took a dig at Jenny McCarthy, which for a talk show host is probably burning a potentially valuable bridge. Since he’s had his new kids it seems he’s gotten more aware of issues like healthcare, especially for babies. He also did a similar one for global warming.

We shouldn’t have to care what celebrities think, but we do, because too many people take the opinions of celebrities seriously. Case in point: President Donald Trump (ptui).

Some celebrities take that aspect seriously, such as Robert Young (the actor, not the quack who has been featured multiple times on this blog). Young, who played the title role in “Marcus Welby”, was always careful to point out that he was not a doctor, he merely played one on TV, and therefore he knew no more than most people about medicine. (I hope that the show’s creators paid a consultant to ensure that Dr. Welby’s advice was consistent with best practice at the time, but I have no way of knowing that.) Would that McCarthy et al., who don’t even play doctor on TV or in movies, heeded Young’s advice.

Orac asks,

Who cares what celebrities think about vaccines?

“Celebrity antivaccine loons are all too common, and I’ve written about them over the years”, says Orac.

MJD says,

Of course some care what celebrities think about vaccines.

It’s fortunate that some vaccine-hesitant celebrities continue to express their concerns even though doing such may be a career changer.

Knowing this, their message becomes even more concerning.

Because someone is afraid of an imaginary concern doesn’t mean that a danger exists.

Lots of people are concerned about spirits, aliens and vampires – it doesn’t make them any more real.

WHY DO I EVEN TRY?

Denice Walter writes,

Because someone is afraid of an imaginary concern doesn’t mean that a danger exists.

MJD says,

Adaptive immunity is of course non-static and therefore susceptive to atypicality.

Atypical adaptive-immunity after vaccination is currently monitored and precautions and safety procedures are recommended thereafter (i.e., reactive system).

In simplification, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

In a proactive system, vaccine safety advocates express their concerns prior to vaccination to stimulate the implementation of safety procedures in an effort to reduce the incidence of vaccine injury.

In simplification, the non-squeaky wheel gets the grease.

“Wait, vampires aren’t real??”

Hmm…

Spirits: dead
Aliens: hypothetical
Vampires: undead

Difficult to prove any of these are real. However we can apply some creative Bayesian reasoning and argue that vampires are the least unreal of the three. That’ll have to do for the present.

WHY DO I EVEN TRY?

Agreed. Look at the whole situation (your interaction with MJD) from a 4 miles high point of view; one of the thing you’ll notice are first, a very restricted interest and the second one is the persistence of the energizer bunny rabbit (run, and run, and run and run) or one of those giant caterpillar (the heavy construction rig) who can last for 25 years and keep on chugging.

In ten years, it’ll be the same.

Alain

Alain writes,

In ten years, it’ll be the same.

MJD says,

In ten years, Orac’s Respectful Insolence will be about a quarter century old.

Orac would surely be considered the energizer bunny rabbit. 🙂

A little off topic,

The AI book that I wrote and placed an Orac quote therein is finally available:

http://www.cambridgescholars.com/patents-and-artificial-intelligence

@ Orac,

Who cares what celebrities think of AI.

I certainly do, Orac.

Who cares what celebrities think of AI.

I certainly do, Orac.

How much do we have to twist, turn and beat the definition of celebrity into submission for you to consider being one?

Inquiring mind want to know.

Al

Johnny asks,

How many will you have to sell to break even?

MJD says,

It was a wonderful experience learning and writing about AI.

Orac is a good acquaintance and incorporating his opinion(s) in my writings is simply a side effect of his celebrity status.

Not surprisingly, Orac will have a somewhat significant presence in the next book titled, “Fringe Medicine of the Rich and Famous”.

@ Orac’s minions,

Again, expect the unexpected from MJD soon.

It was a wonderful experience learning and writing about AI.

You don’t seem to have learned much of anything, judging by the doubtlessly self-authored description. The very first sentence is word salad, and the last one demonstrates complete ignorance of the history of the field.

Aliens and spirits may be real. Extraterrestrial life may exist. But the only vampires that exist are vampire bats and mosquitoes.

Narad writes,

You don’t seem to have learned much of anything, judging by the doubtlessly self-authored description. The very first sentence is word salad, and the last one demonstrates complete ignorance of the history of the field.

MJD says,

Thanks for the review, Narad.

I’m looking forward (not foreword) to Denice Walters’ review although since the cover art hasn’t been published that severely limits her ability to respond. 🙂

@ Alain,

I respect your efforts and ability in computer matters could you please counter Narad’s scathing review?

I respect your efforts and ability in computer matters could you please counter Narad’s scathing review?

Please point to your book description as well as Narad’s review (I understand that today’s comment is related to his previous review of your description and not his actual review) and I shall critique according to the science at hand.

Alain

Caring what a celebrity thinks about vaccines is like caring what you think about my wardrobe. There are other people with actual expertise in the subject whose opinions are far more relevant.

Have a balloon.

Well, we can always argue that spirits, aliens and vampires are “real” in films
which would put them in the same category as Wakefield’s research.

Extraterrestrial life may exist in real life. We haven’t been to other solar systems to prove otherwise.

Kirsten Bell was “Veronica Mars” on TV, the title character in the film ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and voiced the princess in ‘Frozen’. Amanda Peet was one of the leads in the short-lived Aaron Sorkin TV Show “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, and has played supporting roles in a number of features, including “Syrianna” and “2012”. I would characterize both as ‘working actresses’ rather than ‘celebrities’ in the ‘People Magazine’ sense.

Living now half way around the world from the US now gives one a different perspective. Where in the US vaccination is free or very low cost, many people here (especially outside of the cities) simply cannot afford the cost. Thailand further advanced than a number of countries nearby but still has vaccination issues. My stepdaughter is getting all of her shots.

At 64 I have a vaccination i need to get soon for Japanese Encephalitis and would get the Dengue vaccine if I wasn’t outside of the age range.

Of all the actresses listed above how many are A list actors? Does Jenny McCarthy even make it as a D list actor?

“would get the Dengue vaccine if I wasn’t outside of the age range.”

I think you meant Yellow Fever vaccine. Unfortunately Dengue is very tricky, so there no vaccine for it now. And it is not for lack of trying.

Chris, there is actually a Dengue vaccine but the upper age is about 36. Yellow fever is not in Thailand.

I have been following the development of Dengue vaccine because I have had Dengue Fever. The problem with developing it is that getting a different serotype of Dengue causes a worse reaction, like hemorrhagic fever. I know they have been working on one in Australia, and recently removed an experimental one in the Philippines because the reactions to those who already had Dengue antibodies.

So, could you please provide a citation please.

I know they have been working on one in Australia, and recently removed an experimental one in the Philippines because the reactions to those who already had Dengue antibodies.

Dengvaxia wasn’t experimental, it was licensed. (See also here.)

Urgh. So much stupid. Can you believe we’re supposed to buy Mayam Bialik as an intelligent person on The Big Bang Theory? Then again, the entire show is only good at pretending to be smart.

I’m at the age where my cousins (I’m an only child but have eight cousins, counting both sides of the family) are starting to have kids. I’m a little proud to admit that I’ve gained a reputation for pushing for vaccination – and prouder that, thus far, all three (and counting) of my second cousins are properly vaccinated.

“Then again, the entire show is only good at pretending to be smart.”

As a woman who majored in engineering in the late 1970s and worked for a major industrial manufacturer in the 1980s… with all of the ridiculous crud that went with it. This includes guys telling me they would never buy that company’s product because they had the audacity to hire women engineers. Um, yeah… try working that out in reality.

So, yeah, I never understood the attraction of that show. I tried to watch a couple, but I hated the depictions of every type of characters. I worked with lots of interesting, and sometimes difficult people, but none like that.

One life lesson I did learn was to sit and listen to the brilliant man who wrote the Fast Fourier program that I used because he had a very strong stutter. That helped me because my oldest has a severe speech disorder due to his autism.

Dear fellow and sister minions:

As you may have observed, I have attempted to influence MJD who continues to perseverate upon various vaccine safety issues. He doesn’t seem to be reachable. He hasn’t learned much from Orac’s measured control mechanisms which inhibit his activity.
Perhaps one of you has another way of addressing his…er… material because I am frankly getting sick and tired of his responses, his mannerisms, his formatted style and his lack of self awareness.

I know that several- many- of you are adept at terse sarcasm, wickedly appropriate insults and advanced swearing.
Go ahead.

It requires no response. I skip over all his comments, and all the replies. The outcome is the same and I avoid wasting my time. This is about the only thing I like about threads on the new web site. I noticed your comment because it happened to be at the bottom of the page and not in one of those threads.

rs and Chris:

It’s PURELY for the benefit of newbies and lurkers.
The uninformed need not read dozens of his comments to determine their lack of worth. We can save them time and effort.
We wouldn’t want it t look like he is contributing something if he went unchallenged

Dudes! We’re instructing here!

Orac tolerates his presence, that’s why he’s here. The world is full of problems and problem people, here and elsewhere. I can’t fix them all, and perhaps few if any at all. I choose my places. This isn’t one of them. His absurdity will continue for as long as Orac tolerates him regardless of what good faith lengths you and others go to respond. Even if Orac were to ban him he’d continue elsewhere. Would anyone follow to correct his nonsense there, even if with mockery? Unlikely. I am not criticizing you, only warning against fruitless effort.

A classic comment encountered today in an enthusiastic online review of an antivax book:

“We were born in caves at one point… we survived.”

Meaning – health interventions are non-essential, since the human race existed without them (similarly, I’ve heard it said that the great plague outbreaks of the Middle Ages were no biggie even though one-third of humanity is estimated to have perished as a result).

Caveman envy is sort of poignant when expressed with the aid of a computer keyboard.

@ Alain: Feb 11 3:54 pm

ACTUALLY
– I do it for lurkers and newbies- someone has to answer his dreck** : we can’t just let it be
– I sometimes respond purely to hone my sarcasm
– I know that some people can NEVER learn or change their beliefs ( I did study this stuff)

-btw- I hope that you’re feeling better

** perhaps we should all take turns OR have a blanket statement in response
like “Don’t listen to MJD, kids- it’ll stunt your growth” or something filthy in French

-btw- I hope that you’re feeling better

emotional flatline, foggy brain.

like “Don’t listen to MJD, kids- it’ll stunt your growth” or something filthy in French

When the fog clear up, I’ll think of something…

Al

like “Don’t listen to MJD, kids- it’ll stunt your growth” or something filthy in French

Les enfants, n’écoutez pas MJD, vos dents vont tomber…

Kids, don’t listen to MJD, your teeths will fall down 🙂

Alain

Oh, that’s like what a friend of mine’s German dad says when someone sneezes: “it’s a good thing our teeth don’t fall out”!
Excellent!

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