Hollywood may be a long way from Ontario, Canada, but that doesn’t mean actress Jenny McCarthy — an outspoken opponent of vaccination — is unknown north of the border. In fact, McCarthy’s very public rants on immunization were recently the subject of a speech by Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews, who called the actress’ remarks on the subject “outrageously irresponsible”.
Chicago-born McCarthy rose to fame after being named Playboy’s “Playmate of the Year” in 1993. In the years following she starred in several television shows and movies, including Jenny, BASEketball, Scream 3, Scary Movie 3, and Dirty Love, which earned McCarthy a “Razzie” for “Worst Actress”. Currently McCarthy is a host on the popular daytime talk show The View.
But McCarthy may be best known for her active opposition to the vaccination of children, which she claims can trigger the onset of autism. McCarthy made the claim after her son, Evan, was diagnosed with the disorder in 2005. Later, McCarthy claimed that Evan was a normal child until being vaccinated. In the years since, McCarthy has published several books linking autism and vaccination.
That position has made McCarthy an incredibly controversial figure, particularly with health officials like Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews. Matthews, like most health experts, believes there’s absolutely no link between autism and vaccination, which is an important step in preventing the spread of contagious diseases like measles.
“The science is very clear,” Matthews said last week. “There is absolutely no truth in [McCarthy’s] argument.”
Matthews is speaking out on the matter because she’s concerned that McCarthy — who can reach a wide audience with her books and role on The View — is spreading misinformation about vaccination.
Matthews points to a recent outbreak of measles in Canada as evidence that McCarthy’s message is being received. Matthews called the measles outbreak a “wake-up call” for parents.
“They’re starting to realize now that not immunizing your kids can actually result in their death,” Matthews added.