Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dear Jenny McCarthy

Dear Jenny McCarthy,

We just read your latest column post for the Sun-Times Splash section and we would like to know why it took you so long to clarify your position on vaccines. While we at Nurses Who Vaccinate are glad to hear you aren't anti-vaccine, your views and opinions still leave us concerned that you continue to misunderstand how vaccines work.

Vaccines today are the safest they've ever been. Technology allows us to use less antigens to promote an immune response and utilize combination immunizations to decrease the number of administrations. They save lives around the world everyday, yet if parents are scared away from using them, children will be left vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases and suffer unnecessarily.

While we understand the concern that the schedule appears to be a one size fits all, that isn't how the immune system and vaccine schedule work. Your concern is a common misconception based on misunderstandings about how vaccines work and about the schedule itself.

According to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, "vaccines and drugs aren’t distributed in the body in the same manner. Medications must be distributed throughout the bloodstream to have the desired effect, so dosing is determined by body size. This is similar to the effects of a glass of alcohol on a large man compared with a small woman. In contrast, vaccines work by introducing cells of the immune system, known as B and T cells, to the parts of a virus or bacteria that cause disease. These cells are typically “educated” near the site the vaccine is given. Once they are equipped to recognize the agent that causes illness, they travel throughout the body." Vaccines Today provides a quick video that explains the vaccine schedule compared with the antigens an infant encounters everyday of their life.

The vaccine system is tailored to meet the needs of the pediatric population. The doses are calibrated and spread out over a course of a year to help develop the lifesaving antibodies. Some vaccines are held until the child's first birthday. Illnesses, allergies, age and health conditions all influence whether someone is able to get a vaccine. In fact, the published immunization schedule for children from birth through 18 years of age is four pages long and is supported by a 64-page document on general recommendations as well as vaccine-specific recommendations. Are you worried about 'too many vaccines, too soon?' Well rest assured, health organizations such as Every Child By Two and The Academy of Pediatrics address this concern and provide information that demonstrates that the recommended vaccine schedule does not overwhelm children's immune systems.

It seems as though you still have many questions about vaccines and can benefit from a real one-on-one discussion with a qualified health care professional. As nurses we thank you for taking the first step in ridding your reputation of the 'anti-vaccine' label, you are not the first and hopefully not the last. However, for the safety of your son, and those who continue to look up to you for parenting and health information, please continue your journey by contacting a pediatrician and or an immunization coalition in your area. You can even contact us- we'd be more than happy to answer your questions.

Good luck with your son and stay well.

Nurses Who Vaccinate

This open letter is a response to Ms. Jenny McCarthy's column post from April 12, 2014 in the Chicago Sun Times-

More information from CHOP on "One Size Fits All" Misconception-


  1. Oh boy, Time's Science Editor Jeffrey Kluger really laid a slap-down on Jenny's "Shades of Grey" post today.

    "Jenny, as outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough continue to appear in the U.S.—most the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children because of the scare stories passed around by anti-vaxxers like you—it’s just too late to play cute with the things you’ve said. You are either floridly, loudly, uninformedly antivaccine or you are the most grievously misunderstood celebrity of the modern era. Science almost always prefers the simple answer, because that’s the one that’s usually correct. Your quote trail is far too long—and you have been far too wrong—for the truth not to be obvious."

    1. that is the biggest bunch of crap I ever heard. unvaccinated has nothing to do with it, if you children are vaccinated your covered right???? So I guess you were wrong, and if you like putting all those chemicals in your children, go for it. When you get a vaccine you are contagious, live virus is just that live.... Just go to the CDC website and look at the chemicals, oh that's right if a white coat gives them they are it.

    2. Thank you for sharing that article from ScienceMag about a vaccinated individual contracting and transmitting the measles virus.

      There are two important points that need to be made about that article.
      1- Vaccines are not a 100% guaranteed protection. They help to protect about 95% of the people who use them. So that means in a population of 315 million vaccinated people, 5% of them, almost 16 million people, will not be protected and thus will depend on the community immunity to protect them.
      2- This article is based on an outbreak that occurred in 2011, and is not related to the current measles outbreaks that are predominantly in unvaccinated/under-vaccinated individuals.

      Also, chemicals are all around us- from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Our bodies are composed and produce chemicals as well- the word chemical is overused and is not to be feared.

    3.,,, It sounds like your science doesn't hold water. And lets not forget SV-40 cancer virus put in all the polio vaccines, of course you don't see any cancer in children today do we??? You don't have a clue what they are injecting in you, but I guess if you have a white coat on all those chemicals are safe. If I fed my child mercury, and all the other chemicals you would have me thrown in prison for child abuse.CDC has them on their site

    4. Cathy, if you have information that refutes what we have provided, please share.
      In regards to your claim that mercury is present in vaccines, -that statement is incorrect. Thimerosal is no longer used as a preservative in any childhood vaccine with the exception of the influenza vaccine. Also, SV-40 was never linked to human cancer cases. (

      It appears that you may have many questions and misconceptions about vaccines- Please feel free to contact us or speak to your healthcare providers about the importance of vaccinating.

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