The anti-vaccinationists over at Age of Autism has decided to give their 2009 Quote of the Year Award to Jim Carrey for this little gem on the Larry King Show:
KING: Isn’t the problem here, Jenny, that people sometimes listen with one ear are going to panic. And not vaccine at all?MCCARTHY: Probably. But guess what? It’s not my fault. The reason why they’re not vaccinating is because the vaccines are not safe. Make a better product and then parents will vaccinate.
CARREY: We’re not the problem. The problem is the problem.
HANDLEY: The AAP has failed our kids.
Age of Autism’s “Quote of the Year” is “We’re not the problem. The problem is the problem.” Really guys? You really feel that your position is most concisely summed up by a refusal to accept responsibility and a trite, meaningless cliche like “The problem is the problem”? How incredibly insightful. [rolling eyes]
But let’s examine the rest of this short snippet they’ve provided for us. It begins with Jenny McCarthy refusing to accept responsibility for her behavior by unambiguously asserting that any harm cause by her advice is not her fault. She then states that it’s the vaccine that’s harmful, despite of course the fact that no evidence exists to suggest that it is any more harmful than millions of other things in our every day lives that nobody wastes any energy concerning themselves about and is in all likelihood the safer medical procedure we have. She then (though this is arguable) seems to actually advise parents to not vaccinate because the vaccine is “not safe.” Now vaccines can have serious negative side effects and can even cause death but we’re literally talking about one-in-a-million odds, if not in many millions. While I can’t find a reputable source for these statistics, I’d be surprised if even a hundred Americans developed serious negative side effects from vaccines this year and at most only a few dozen died as a direct consequence of the vaccine.
Now let’s compare that to some other death statistics
There were an estimated 6,289,000 car accidents in the US in 1999. There were about 3.4 million injuries and 41,611 people killed in auto accidents in 1999. The total number of people killed in highway crashes in 2001 was 42,116, compared to 41,945 in 2000. An average of 114 people die each day in car crashes in the U.S.
. . .
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu during each flu season.The CDC estimates that in the US more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.
. . .
There were an estimated 15,517 murders in 2000, virtually no change from the 1999 murder estimate of 15,522. The number of murders was 21 percent less than in 1996 and 37.2 percent less than in 1991.
. . .
Lightning-related fatality, injury, and damage reports in the US were summarized for 36 years since 1959, based on the NOAA publication Storm Data. There were 3239 deaths, 9818 injuries, and 19,814 property-damage reports from lightning during this period. On average, 90 people are killed every year in the U.S. by lightning.
Is serious vaccine injury more likely than being struck by lightning? If so, not by very much. It’s certainly not even close to as dangerous as automobiles. So many Jenny should be advising people not to drive.