How The Vaccination Debate Breaks Down Along Celebrity Lines
When it comes to celebrities and vaccines, the anti-vaccination side seems to suck up most of the news cycle oxygen. But noted pro-vaccinator Anna from Frozen (also known as Kristin Bell) took control of the game last week when she demanded that anyone who even wants to hold her children must be up to date on their shots. As the chorus grows louder on both sides of the issue and Mickey Mouse runs for shelter in the Disneyland quarantine unit, which team currently fields the stronger side?
Best Known For: The View, 2 And A Half Men, Playboy
Scouting Report: Believes the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused her son’s autism; is persuasive enough that ex-boyfriend Jim Carrey still plays for the anti-vaccinator squad. Boasts a Roger Clemens-like ability to misremember her stance on the issue. Has been the face of Hollywood’s anti-vaccination campaign for so long, it’s easy to forget she was once a famous naked person.
Best Known For: Clueless
Scouting Report: Opposed vaccination in her 2014 bookThe Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning. (Seriously, that’s the real title.) Pre-chews her baby’s food (Seriously, that’s real too).
Best Known For: The Apprentice, Blockbuster Failed Real Estate Deals
Scouting Report: Took his storied talent for glomming onto the controversy du jour into the vaccination discussion in 2012, when he told Fox News host Gretchen Carlson that he is a proponent of the “too many, too soon” argument against current vaccination schedules. When told that most physicians disagreed with him, responded with classic Trump nuance: “I couldn’t care less.”
Best Known For: Blossom, The Big Bang Theory
Scouting Report: Proudly anti-vaccine, as well as a celebrity endorser of prominent and problematic alternative medicine organization, the Holistic Moms Network. Drives vaccine proponents crazy by being an actual neuroscientist who maintains seemingly anti-science ideas on a variety of parenting topics.
Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Best Known For: Being Robert Kennedy’s Son And John F. Kennedy’s Nephew
Scouting Report: Effusive conspiracy theorist whose anti-vaccinator cred was burnished by following McCarthy as the keynote speaker at the popular anti-vaccinator conference Autism One/Generation Rescue. He opted to go with a slightly more … Holocaust-y take that made McCarthy seem reasonable by comparison.
Best Known For: The Hills
Scouting Report: A liability on the anti-vaccination squad due to an inability to nail the team’s rhetoric, as evidenced by this quote from an interview last year on Fox Business: “There is a pediatric group called Homestead or, shoot, Homestead or Home First — now I have pregnancy brain, I got them confused — but they’ve never vaccinated any of their children and they’ve never had one case of autism.”
Best Known For: Frozen, Veronica Mars
Scouting Report: Made headlines with her recent insistence that friends have a whooping cough vaccination before playing with her kids. Admits to having changed her position on vaccines after becoming a mother and learning about herd immunity: “I believe in trusting doctors, not know-it-alls.” Arguably the most powerful voice in the debate, since kids will do anything Anna says.
Best Known For: Lots Of Reality TV Shows, Attempting To Break The Internet
Scouting Report: Lacks talent, but has influence in spades. Managed to use the vacuous platform of reality TV for good — just once — by making her daughter’s vaccination a focal point of an episode seen by millions. Forced sister to get vaccinated before visiting her baby and could deploy husband Kanye West to interrupt anti-vaccine speeches.
Best Known For: Microsoft, Being The Richest Guy In The World
Scouting Report: Can light cigars with Trump’s entire net worth; has given $1.55 billion (with a “b”) to global vaccination efforts for the poor. Unlike Trump, knows better than to make himself the face of his own campaigns.
Best Known For: A Lot Like Love, Togetherness
Scouting Report: Prior to Bell’s power move last week, arguably the most vocal pro-vaccinator Hollywood mom, having come out in support as early as 2007. Spokesperson for the Every Child By Two campaign, and once called anti-vaxxer parents “parasites,” Peet is also married to Game Of Thrones maestro David Benioff, meaning she may have access to dragons.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Best Known For: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Scooby Doo
Scouting Report: Earned pro-vaccinator cred in 2013 when she advocated for adults getting the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster (TDaP) during a whooping cough epidemic. After 8 years as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, knows a few things about drawing blood.
Best Known For: Felicity, The Americans
Scouting Report: Walks the walk — after starring in PSAs for Parents Of Kids With Infectious Diseases (PKIDs) that promoted the pertussis vaccine booster for adults, she went and got one herself.