Science editors ripped Jenny McCarthy for being disingenuous after she recently reversed her longstanding anti-vaccine position. "You are either floridly, loudly, uninformedly anti-vaccine, or you are the most grievously misunderstood celebrity of the modern era," wrote Time magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger.
Kluger blamed McCarthy for spreading alarm and causing parents to become unnecessarily concerned that their children will become autistic if they get vaccinations.
Kluger said Jenny rarely cops to this remark she made during a 2009 Time magazine interview with him: “If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the f-cking measles."
Kluger said McCarthy's statement implies that parents have to choose between autism and vaccinations, which he says has no scientific basis.
McCarthy: 'I Never Told Anyone Not to Vaccinate'
McCarthy made headlines earlier this week after saying she is not anti-vaccine in a Chicago Sun-Times editorial. "I am not 'anti-vaccine,'" Jenny wrote. "For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, 'pro-vaccine' and for years I have been wrongly branded as 'anti-vaccine.'
McCarthy has an 11-year-old son, Evan, who was diagnosed with autism in 2005. Jenny has courted controversy over the years after saying Evan's autism was caused by the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine he received as a baby. In 2007, Jenny was heavily criticized after launching an anti-vaccine movement.
Jenny has repeatedly stated that vaccines contain toxins that cause autism, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other behavioral problems, notwithstanding scientific research showing otherwise. After being viciously attacked for the past few weeks, McCarthy now claims she's pro-vaccine, and is merely opposed to children getting multiple vaccination shots in one doctor's visit.
"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," she wrote. "I believe in the importance of a vaccine program and I believe parents have the right to choose one [shot] per visit. I’ve never told anyone to not vaccinate.”
'Where's the Evidence That Vaccines Causes Autism?'
Critics say McCarthy's scientifically untenable views are resulting in unnecessary deaths. "The myth that vaccines somehow cause developmental disorders lives on," said science writer Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy.
"Despite the lack of corroborating evidence, it has been popularized by media personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Jenny McCarthy. Meanwhile, millions of dollars have been diverted from potential breakthroughs in autism research. Most tragic of all is the increasing number of children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases."
McCarthy has also been slammed after remarking that she had cured her son's autism by eliminating gluten from his diet. Jenny detailed how she cured Evan's autism in her book Louder Than Words: A Mom's Journey in Healing Autism.
Autism is a developmental disability characterized by difficulty with communication and social interaction. There is no known cause or cure. Autism now affects one in 68 children.