Keep Tabs on the Consequences of Jenny McCarthy’s Ignorance

Posted March 30, 2009

A new website has launched, making it time for another dose of the Supidity vaccine — a Jenny McCarthy reality check.

The new site, titled Jenny McCarthy Body Count, keeps tabs on the number of vaccine preventable deaths and illnesses since she first spoke out against vaccines in June of 2007.

Of course this is not just about McCarthy. It is about all of those who choose to scaremonger parents into putting their children and ours at risk. It is about paranoia versus rational choice. It is about listening to those who understand how these things work (scientists) rather than insisting that the world revolves around large corporations who have conspired to kill people to make a buck. It is about being reasonable and educated. It is about preventing needless death and illness. It is about ALL of us.

Jenny McCarthy Body Count:

Is Jenny McCarthy directly responsible for every vaccine preventable illness and every vaccine preventable death listed here? No. However, as the unofficial spokesperson for the United States anti-vaccination movement she may be indirectly responsible for at least some of these illnesses and deaths and even one vaccine preventable illness or vaccine preventable death is too many.

There are many sources for a full account of the lies spread by anti-vaxxers like McCarthy and the consequences of these actions. Respectful Insolence has covered it well, including links to other sites. The Jenny McCarthy Body Count site itself has a page with links to several other blogsites (some on my blogroll) that respond quickly to statements and events on this topic with accurate and well-reasoned discussion.

The issue of the month for McCarthy is a campaign to “green our vaccines”. What this means is unclear since by definition the vaccine itself — the form of the disease that stimulates immune response — is a toxin, and they say they want the toxins removed.
The list of “questionable ingredients” sounds scary, but only for those of us without advanced knowledge of chemistry and biology (i.e., most of the general public including me). Although some of the ingredients listed in these outrageous claims are present in vaccines, an understanding of the purpose and amounts of each is necessary to rationally evaluate the risks.

A full list of ingredients is available through the CDC website. Unfortunately, many have used this public information to twist the truth into unrecognizable nightmarish propaganda.

Here’s the thing: “I don’t understand what this means” is not — let me repeat — NOT a good reason to dismiss what science has discovered. The scientific method is solid. It offers no guarantees, but it provides us with a level of certainty to aid us in our decisions. It is the most trust-worthy source of accurate information. Your intuition and wishful thinking are not.

Anti-science movements prey on our human need for control. We want to ensure that bad things will not happen to us and when they do, we want to know why so that we can control them. That is understandable. But the path to real knowledge is science, not B.S.

So here’s some science (not first-hand info, but citations are available. If you ask, I will provide them).

Following are summaries of some of the answers about these ingredients given by those who know a little about medicine — Bloggers at Respectful Insolence and Science-Based Medicine as well as the CDC.

  • In general, we are exposed to and consume many of these scary-sounding chemicals in much greater quantities in everyday life through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the products we touch.
  • Thiomersal/Thimerosal:is a mercury-based preservative that was used in many vaccines until 2000, when it was removed from nearly all childhood vaccines. Some brands of flu vaccine still contain it. We know from years of rigorous testing that thimerosal does NOT cause autism.
  • Aluminium/Aluminum or salts of aluminum stimulate response to the vaccine, making it more effective so that children need fewer shots.
  • Formaldehyde is used as an antimicrobial in vaccine production. It ensures that the bacteria in the vaccine that is designed to stimulate immunity is inactive. It also kills unwanted viruses and bacteria that may be introduced during production. It is a naturally-occurring substance that is found in much greater quantities in our environment than in vaccines (such as auto exhaust) and is present in MANY of the products we use daily.

    Removing antimicrobials from the production process would definitely Green Our Vaccines in the way I greened a piece of cheese that lay forgotten in my fridge.
    Mike Stanton, Action for Autism

  • Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Streptomycin are antibacterials which have been known to do some pretty nasty things when consumed in large enough quantities. As noted by Orac at Respectful Insolence, the sum of the steptomycin in every vaccine given to a child during his/her lifetime does not reach 1mg, yet the recommended dosage for treatment of infections is 20 to 40 mg/kg of body weight — max of 1g per day.
  • Sodium Hydroxide is corrosive and can cause irritation. It is found in oven cleaners and drain openers. It can be fatal if swallowed in quantities and forms that are sufficient. It, like the Hydrochloric Acid found in some vaccines, is an acid. We do not live in a pH neutral world. Think back to grade school chemistry. The presence of acids is necessary to adjust the pH of the vaccine to neutral.
  • Sucrose in vaccines has been vilified in the most ridiculous way. Kent Heckenlively at Age of Autism writes:

    “Sucrose is used as a stabilizer. Over-consumption of sucrose has been linked with some adverse health effects. The most common is dental caries or tooth decay, in which oral bacteria convert sugars (including sucrose) from food into acids that attack tooth enamel. …”

    Are they really trying to say that sucrose in a vaccine will make babies fat and toothless?

  • There is no antifreeze in vaccines. The principle ingredients in antifreeze are not found in vaccines.
  • Some of the other things listed at various sites are ridiculous, some are used at various points in the manufacturing process and very unlikely to be present in a vaccine, and all are worded carefully to suggest something icky and/or harmful.

These lists are designed to scare, not educate.

Please educate yourself. This is not a personal choice. People are dying needlessly and the body count will rise quickly as herd immunity is lost to scared parents listening to former bunnies rather than scientists who know what of they speak.

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