by Michele Zipp
It has been widely believed that Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine. Ever since her son, Evan (who is now 11) was diagnosed with autism, McCarthy has spoken out on the disorder. Her words are one of the reasons many parents do not vaccinate their children for fear that giving your children shots causes autism.
Now McCarthy wants to clear that up and tell the world that she is really pro-vaccine. Her latest thoughts on the topic may actually have a new set of parents believing what she has to say.
In an article for the Chicago Sun-Times, McCarthy writes:
I am not "anti-vaccine." This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, "pro-vaccine" and for years I have been wrongly branded as "anti-vaccine." My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the “one size fits all” philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule. I embarked on this quest not only for myself and my family, but for countless parents who shared my desire for knowledge that could lead to options and alternate schedules, but never to eliminate the vaccines. Blatantly inaccurate blog posts about my position have been accepted as truth by the public at large as well as media outlets (legitimate and otherwise), who have taken those false stories and repeatedly turned them into headlines. What happened to critical thinking? What happened to asking questions because every child is different?
That's how her post began. It drew me in immediately. Having one's words being twisted is an awful and powerless feeling. Particularly on the matter of parenthood. Jenny goes on:
For my child, I asked for a schedule that would allow one shot per visit instead of the multiple shots they were and still are giving infants. I am passionate about important conversations on how we can improve health care for our children and generations to come. This is an extremely important discussion and I am dumbfounded that these conversations are discounted and negated because the answers are not black or white. Again I ask, what happened to critical thinking?
The fact that there are frequent discussions about autism now is important. Just writing about it or thinking about it raises awareness. We all know something more must be done -- and there are many working to find a cure, learn more, give kids the best treatment. And I do believe we need to question everything. Jenny is a mother. First and foremost. Her son was diagnosed with autism. She did what any great parent would do and question everything. Not everyone would come up with the same hypothesis as she did, but this is her journey, her life, her son's life, her son's journey.
I will also say that I never like to discount a mother's intuition. Ever. Even when it comes to vaccines. Jenny's words here ring so true for me:
This is what I believe: I believe in the importance of a vaccine program and I believe parents have the right to choose one poke per visit. I’ve never told anyone to not vaccinate. Should a child with the flu receive six vaccines in one doctor visit? Should a child with a compromised immune system be treated the same way as a robust, healthy child? Shouldn’t a child with a family history of vaccine reactions have a different plan? Or at least the right to ask questions? I will continue to say what I have always said: "One size does not fit all." God help us all if gray is no longer an option.
I have refused vaccinations for my children when they have been sick. I have said no to multiple shots in one visit. I've declined getting next year's shots this year in order to save a doctor's visit. I have declined certain immunizations for my children. I also, like Jenny, believe in the importance of a vaccine program. She's right. One size does not fit all.
What do you think of Jenny McCarthy's latest on vaccinations and autism?