I was running up and down an unpronounceable neighborhood yesterday but still managing to check in with friends and colleagues in the USA. As they all celebrated the 4th of July, I was reminded of the spectrum of beliefs about everything that we humans have. Yesterday’s social media postings went from people who didn’t care much about the meaning of the holiday to people whose patriotism stepped into that bizarre area where the USA is the greatest place in the world even though those espousing this view have never been outside of their own state. That’s how humans roll. Some of us care a lot about some things, while others could care less. Some of us have realistic views about vaccines while others don’t see a difference between vaccines and Satan’s piss.
One of those people who can’t tell the difference is Jim Carrey. Once Senate Bill 277 was enacted into law last week in California, Jim Carrey lost his goddamned mind. He took to social media (twitter, mostly) to rant and rave about vaccines and their horrors. I’d call it a meltdown, but that doesn’t give it enough justice. It’s as if he googled for any and all anti-vaccine arguments and made a list, then googled for all pro-vaccine arguments and actively erased that from his mind, finishing up by googling images of children with autism and posting those as all being caused by vaccines.
He even got in trouble for posting one such picture of a child whose autism is the result of a genetic condition that causes physical changes to his brain. Of course, Jim Carrey read “autism” and immediately thought “vaccines.” That’s par for the course for anti-vaccine cult members, of which there are many in Hollywood circles. The mother of the child whose picture Jim Carrey used without permission filed a complaint, and Jim Carrey apologized for using the picture. He is yet to apologize for spreading outright lies about vaccines.
But I’m not surprised by Jim Carrey’s rant. He was once romantically involved with Jenny McCarthy, the model and actress whose child has gone back and forth between different diagnoses about his developmental delay. Whether or not he picked up his terror of vaccines (a terror so enormous that it forces him to lie and scare other people) from Jenny McCarthy is up for debate. One thing is for sure, reality is not something either of them deal with when it comes to vaccines. Well, them and the rest of the anti-vaccine cult.
The Pharma Shill Gambit? Check. According to Jim Carrey and so many other opponents of Senate Bill 277, the pharmaceutical industry “bought” lawmakers by donating $2 million dollars to political campaigns in California. Never mind that the money went to people who voted against the bill, not just the supporters. I guess it’s a misdirection play by Big Pharma. But what is $2 million in a multi-billion-dollar industry? If I have $5,000 in my checking account, is it really a conflict of interest if I give two or three bucks to a group to do my bidding on something that will probably give me back fifty cents in return? Because, have no doubt, vaccines don’t bring in that much money to Big Pharma. They make their money on what we use to stay alive in the last years of our lives, not what we use to survive childhood.
If Big Pharma wanted to make a load of money, they would stop vaccinations altogether, just like anti-vaccine cult members want. The ensuing wave of children with all sorts of diseases who have to get antibiotics and medical care would make them wealthy beyond belief. Just go and look at the number of cases of measles before the vaccine, multiply it by our growth rate since the 1960’s, and then divide that by a thousand to get the number of complicated cases requiring hospitalization, or divide it by 10,000 to see the number of cases requiring antibiotics or other medications. Then do the same exercise for Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib) infections, mumps, German measles, influenza, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, and the rest of the vaccine-preventable diseases. By selling vaccines, Big Pharma is cutting its profits.
Mercury in vaccines? Check. Jim Carrey tweeted out that the government regulates “mercury” in fish but not “mercury” in vaccines. Thing is, both kinds of “mercury” are different. When it comes to fish, it’s methylmercury, which builds up in biological systems and is hard to get rid of fast enough to prevent damage. When it comes to vaccines, a preservative called thimerosal is metabolized into ethylmercury, which is easily disposed of by our bodies. That, and thimerosal has been removed from all childhood vaccines with the exception of multi-dose vials of influenza vaccine. Just ask for the single shot if you’re so worried. Even better, the vaccine that everyone associates with autism, the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) never had thimerosal in it. It’s a live-virus vaccine, and thimerosal would kill/inactivate those viruses. But Jim Carrey, like anti-vaccine people, must think reality is too complicated to understand the difference between methyl- and ethyl- compounds.
“I’m not antivaccine!” gambit. Check. Jim Carrey also tweeted out that he is not anti-vaccine. He stated that he’s just “anti-mercury.” So he must be pro-MMR vaccine, right? Wrong. He was asked this and never answered. He has also endorsed and promoted Andrew Jeremy Wakefield’s whacky ideas about the MMR vaccine. So, if Jim Carrey is not anti-vaccine, he is just as weird as all the other anti-vaccine cult members who claim to not be anti-vaccine but can’t endorse one single vaccine. Then they run off yelling, “Parental choice! Parental choice!”
Jim Carrey goes on and on, embarrassing himself through the ignorance of science and denial of reason that he displays in his statements. The worst part is that there are people out there who would listen to him and believe him over what 99.99% of scientists, healthcare providers, and public health professionals have to say. After all, if a Hollywood celebrity says it, it must be truth, right?