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Celebs and Vaccines
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Amanda Peet: Pro-Vaccines
Peet, mom to daughters Frankie and Molly, said in a Cookie magazine interview that parents who do not vaccinate their children are "parasites." She later retracted the use of that word in an apology letter, but maintains that there is no link between autism and vaccines, and that the decision not to vaccinate children "bodes for a dangerous future."
- Splash News
Salma Hayek: Tetanus Vaccine Activist
After the birth of Hayek's daughter, Valentina, the actress became the spokesperson for One Pack = One Vaccine. The Unicef-Pampers-sponsered initiative provides tetanus vaccines to mothers and babies in Africa and Asia in an effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
Jennifer Garner: Supports the Seasonal Flu Vaccine
The actress and mom of two joined the American Lung Association in 2007 as the spokesperson of their "Faces of Influenza" campaign. At a press event for the Association, Garner encouraged people to get the seasonal flu vaccine and said that "influenza is not the common cold. It's serious."
- Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez: Pertussis Vaccine Spokesperson
The singer-actress and mom to twins turned her focus on vaccines for parents when she became the spokesperson for Sounds of Pertussis. The initiative calls for parents and caregivers of babies to have the Tdap vaccine booster, which helps protect against tentanus (T), diptheria (d) and acellular pertussis (ap), also known as whooping cough.
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Keri Russell: Pro-Pertussis Vaccine
After the birth of her son River, the former Felicity star signed on to do PSAs for Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDs), an educational initiative that promotes the pertussis vaccine booster for parents. Russell said in a press release that she is partnering with PKIDs to "spread the word and help other parents learn how to best protect their babies from this deadly but preventable disease," and that she herself received the pertussis vaccine booster.
- Getty Images
Kristi Yamaguchi: Pro-Flu Vaccine
As a spokesperson for the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign (like Jennifer Garner), the Olympic skater promotes the seasonal flu vaccine. In a press release, Yamaguchi said that "as a mom of two children 5 and under, I want to protect my kids. One simple way to do that is to vaccinate myself and everyone around my kids." Yamuguchi has gotten her annual flu shot for the past 20 years.
Marc Anthony: Pro-Flu Vaccine
While wife J.Lo advocates for the pertussis vaccine, singer-songwriter Anthony filmed PSAs for flu.gov, which advocates the flu vaccine, in English and Spanish, and also encourages flu prevention techniques like hand-washing and staying home when sick.
Bill Gates: Pro-Vaccines
In 2010, the Microsoft founder and zillionaire-philanthropist pledged to donate $10 billion from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the next decade to deliver vaccines to developing countries in an effort to reduce childhood mortality. The "Decade of Vaccines" initiative will also work to research and develop vaccines for diseases like tuberculosis. In a press release, Melinda Gates called vaccines "a miracle," and that "with just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime."
Queen Rania of Jordan: Pro-Vaccines
The mom of four sits on the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), which aims to increase vaccine availability to children in developing countries. Queen Rania gave the oral polio vaccine to children on a trip to Morocco and, while visiting a children's hospital in India, said that "we must do whatever it takes to get vaccines to areas where children are dying of preventable diseases."
Jenny McCarthy: Believes Vaccines Cause Autism
In a recent Time interview, the "mother warrior" stood firm behind her claim that the MMR vaccine caused autism in her son Evan, whom she believes is now cured thanks to a string of alternative therapies. While McCarthy will not allow her son to receive any more vaccines, she said is not completely opposed to all of them and penned an op-ed in The Huffington Post calling for the investigation of "benefits and risks" of vaccines.
Bill Maher: Anti-Swine Flu Vaccine
Maher proved to be outspoken in more than just his political commentary when he tweeted this opinion on the swine flu vaccine: "If u get a swine flu shot ur an idiot." Maher also discussed the swine flu vaccine on his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, advising pregnant women not to get it, and said it was akin to "letting someone stick a disease in your arm." (The swine flu shot contains a killed virus, and the nasal spray a weakened version of the virus, neither of which can cause you to contract swine flu.)
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Vaccine Skeptic
In a recent speech at the University of Western Ontario, the environmental lawyer (and nephew of JFK) said that there is "a strong enough connection that the CDC should be looking into" the link between autism and the mercury-based ingredient thimerosal in vaccines. (According to the FDA, thimerosal has been "removed from or reduced to trace amounts" in vaccines for children 6 years or younger, except for the inactivated flu vaccine.) Kennedy also participated in the 2008 "Green Our Vaccines" Washington rally, led by fellow vaccine critic Jenny McCarthy, advocating for the removal of toxins from vaccines.
Jim Carrey: Vaccine Skeptic
Funnyman Carrey joined (now ex-) girlfriend Jenny McCarthy in her 2008 "Green Our Vaccines" rally in Washington, calling for the removal of toxins from vaccines that he believes cause ADHD, autism and other neurological disorders. Carrey also penned an op-ed in The Huffington Post, in which he questioned the motives of vaccine companies as "more of a profit engine than a means of prevention."
Holly Robinson Peete: Vaccine Skeptic
The actress, mom of four and the first African-American board member of Autism Speaks, wrote an open letter to pro-vaccine Amanda Peet on Essence.com, stating that her own son became autistic after receiving the MMR vaccine. Peete said that she is "not anti-vaccine," but that there "needs to be some independent studies done regarding these treatments."