I had no idea that vaccines could be green…until Jenny McCarthy told me so. And she’s singing a new verse to an old song — the theory that vaccines cause autism — but now with an environmental twist.
On Thursday, June 4, actress McCarthy and boyfriend Jim Carrey hosted a march and rally to “Green Our Vaccines” in Washington D.C. McCarthy and her group Talking About Curing Autism think that the environmentally unfriendly additives in the vaccines, such as aluminum and thimerosal (which was taken out of most vaccines years ago) cause autism, so they want them removed from the mix.
I’m not really sure how that could be interpreted as “greening” a vaccine, but um… they’re the experts, right?
And it seems like their other slogan “Too Many, Too Soon” has absolutely nothing to do with the environment either. It’s just rehashed theory about how vaccines and autism are linked. They think that all the vaccines given in one visit introduce too many foreign objects into a child’s weak immune system to fight — a theory known as the “immune system overload” theory.
However, doctors have looked into the issue and come up with two explanations that disprove the theory (these arguments can be found in the journal Pediatrics.) They mathematically demonstrated that children’s immune systems can handle the load. And they also pointed out that there are fewer agents in all of the current vaccines combined, than there were in the original smallpox vaccine — which was administered before the current “autism epidemic”.
While McCarthy’s event got a lot of coverage before the rally when she appeared on Larry King Live, there was little recognition of the event after the fact (with the exception of the Washington Independent). I guess they made a smaller splash than they had hoped.
Sorry Jenny, nice try with the greenwashing…but it didn’t work!
Related on Scienceline:
More about the controversy over vaccines and autism.
Read about a promising new vaccine for malaria.