Jenny McCarthy, regular readers of SBM know, has been a frequent target of criticism here. The reasons, of course, are very simple. She has become the most famous public face of the antivaccine movement, releasing a book every year or so since 2007 about how her son Evan has been “cured” of autism through the dubious biomedical treatments she’s given him and how it was vaccines that supposedly caused her son’s autism. Most recently, she’s releasing a paean to antivaccine views and autism quackery entitled Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide, co-authored by Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. Dr. Kartzinel, some may recall, wrote the foreword to Jenny McCarthy’s very first paean to autism quackery back in 2007 and was properly lambasted by Autism Diva and Kevin Leitch for writing
things like:

Autism, as I see it, steals the soul from a child; then, if allowed, relentlessly sucks life’s marrow out of the family members, one by one…”

Sometimes, in order to appreciate just how wrong antivaccinationist are, it’s best to let them speak in their own words. Nowhere recently have I seen a better example of this than in an interview with Jenny McCarthy published on the TIME Magazine website. In it, along with the usual invocation of the “toxins gambit” and appeals to anecdotal evidence over science, Jenny reveals that she clearly thinks it’s regrettable but acceptable that infectious diseases will return because of the efforts of her and her fellow antivaccine activists:

TIME: Your collaborator recommends that parents accept only the haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) and tetanus vaccine for newborns and then think about the rest. Not polio? What about the polio clusters in unvaccinated communities like the Amish in the U.S.? What about the 2004 outbreak that swept across Africa and Southeast Asia after a single province in northern Nigeria banned vaccines?

JM: I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

Words fail me. Rare, I know, but the above statement is just too much. That’s right. Jenny accepts zero culpability for her role in frightening parents about vaccines and thus driving down the vaccination rate. In Jenny’s warped world, your children are acceptable collateral damage in the cause of promoting her unscientific belief that vaccines cause autism.

Here’s a hint for you, Jenny: We already do have vaccines that are safe. The government is listening to you and your fellow antivaccine activists far more than your pseudoscientific nonsense deserves and even though you are a scientific illiterate. They do it because you and your fellow antivaccine activists whose public face you have become are endangering public health on the basis of no good science, and they are trying to prevent that. Indeed, scientists continue to waste millions of dollars studying over and over again the question of whether vaccines are associated with autism and keep finding the same answer: They aren’t. It’s a no-lose situation for you. No matter how many studies exonerate vaccines as a cause of autism, you can simply say you don’t believe them. You can blithely dismiss them as “unconvincing” or as manipulated by big pharma even though you can’t understand them and have no scientific basis to dismiss them. Then you can repeat your tired demand for more studies, which in turn inevitably find the same result, after which you dismiss them again and ask for still more studies. If vaccine-preventable diseases come roaring back because your movement has frightened parents into not vaccinating, you can simply blame the government and pharmaceutical companies because they haven’t produced a vaccine to your imagined and unattainable standard of safety (i.e., absolutely 100% safe), rather than taking responsibility for own actions dissuading parents from vaccinating and accepting your share of the responsibility.

In fact, you are being completely disingenuous when you say that “if you give us a safe vaccine we’ll use it.” The reason is that you have made it very clear that no vaccine will ever be safe enough for you and that no amount of evidence will separate you from your antivaccine pseudoscience. Regardless of how much evidence is presented, how many times studies are repeated only to find the same result, to you your Google University “education” spent reading from the dark underbelly of antivaccinationist websites and blogs will always trump science. Always. Because of the arrogance of ignorance, you and your puppetmasters always find a way to move the goalposts back yet again and always will. Clearly, you no longer even care how much of a body count your activities may rack up.

Neither does TIME Magazine, apparently.

One last thing. Jenny describes her son Evan as having been handed to her “pre-vaccinated with a bandaid on his foot.” No vaccine that I’m aware of is given in the foot. The Band Aid® on Evan’s foot was almost certainly from routine blood tests done on all newborns via heel stick, like PKU screening. I think that quote alone shows you all you need to know about Jenny’s medical knowledge.

Posted by David Gorski

Dr. Gorski's full information can be found here, along with information for patients. David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, FACS is a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute specializing in breast cancer surgery, where he also serves as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Cancer Liaison Physician as well as an Associate Professor of Surgery and member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. If you are a potential patient and found this page through a Google search, please check out Dr. Gorski's biographical information, disclaimers regarding his writings, and notice to patients here.