Doctors and the Anti-Vaccination Movement

The anti-vaccination movement  came back into the news recently when Jay Cutler’s pregnant wife, reality star Kristin Cavallari, said she and her husband had decided not to vaccinate their son (and their son-to-be).  Cavallari’s viewpoint echoes that of former Playboy bunny, Jenny McCarthy, who has been a prominent and outspoken opponent of vaccinations.

We had two doctors on the show last night who made the following points:

  • The 1998 British article linking vaccinations to autism has been universally refuted.
  • Subsequent studies since then show no such linkage.
  • Parents who choose not to vaccinate not only risk their children’s health, but the health of other children too young for a vaccination.
  • Recent upticks in cases of measles show that the dangers of non-vaccination are not just theoretical.
  • Children actually die without vaccinations.

After the segment, I spoke briefly with the doctors who acknowledged this issue is intensely emotional and that emotions can get in the way of rational discussion.  A committed anti-vaxxer would probably not be persuaded by the above points.  Check out the segment and see what you think, and read thoughts from moms on the topic here.

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