Public opinions about health can be hard to change. Even when those opinions are simply wrong.
Jenny McCarthy is slated to join the panel on The View, joining Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Barbara Walters. Her addition to the show has sparked controversy in many medical circles, as McCarthy has been a very vocal supporter of a theory published by a researcher, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, which claims that child immunizations contribute to the occurrence of autism.
While The View has never been on any list of health talk shows, opponents of Wakefield and his theory feel that the appointment of McCarthy to the show will sooner or later give voice to her viewpoints. They claim that there is a reason McCarthy has not been invited to host shows that discuss health talk topics… She is a celebrity, and no matter how intelligent or attractive people find her, she does not hold a medical license.
Interestingly enough, neither does Andrew Wakefield anymore.
Wakefield was stripped of his license after a British investigation found he had falsified his findings in order to publish his theory. Then he was kicked out of England. His theory was discredited by subsequent research, and the medical community set about fixing the damage his “research” had caused.
In 2004, McCarthy announced that her two year old son had been diagnosed with autism. Only someone in her position can truly understand the pain, fear, and frustration of having a child who suffers from so misunderstood an illness as autism. The need for answers and for solace must be overwhelming. The “study” by Wakefield provided someone to blame. And McCarthy is far from the only person who refuses to let the theory die.
While every supposed defender of health talks about the danger to children, they are simply ignoring the facts. And the facts have been proven a dozen times over. There is no link between childhood immunizations and autism. In every health talk online forum, in every health talk in media, and in health talks in auditoriums across the country, doctors and nurses and medical personnel of every stripe are trying desperately to undo the damage done by the fraudulent study of Wakefield. Immunizations pose no threat to the development of young brains, but the lack of immunizations makes epidemics more likely. And what does that do for the health of children?