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Jenny McCarthy: The gray area on vaccines

Jenny McCarthy with her sEvan February.  | Charles Sykes/AP

Jenny McCarthy with her son, Evan, in February. | Charles Sykes/AP

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Updated: May 14, 2014 6:37AM



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?

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?

A recent column by a blogger named Nancy Colasurdo states:

“Here’s how it goes in this country, like everything else — black or white. Those are your choices. You either fall in line with 40-plus vaccines your doctor recommends on his or her schedule or you’re a wack-job ‘anti-vaxxer.’ Heaven forbid you think the gray zone is an intelligent place to reside and you express doubt or fear or maybe want to spread the vaccines out a bit on this tiny person you’ve brought into the world.”

Her words echo and articulate my concern with inflexible thinking. This is the real view I, Jenny McCarthy, hold. The gray one!

This is what I have said:

“People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines,” I told Time Magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger in 2009. “Please understand that we are not an anti-vaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.”

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.

Jenny McCarthy writes a column for the Sun-Times Splash section and appears on ABC’s “The View.”



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