Jim Carrey hasn't cleansed himself entirely of Jenny McCarthy's influence, it seems, going on an epic anti-vaxxer Twitter rant Monday. Carrey was responding to a bill signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown which requires all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, regardless of personal belief. He made his thoughts crystal clear.
California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped.— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
According to the California Department of Public Health, barely 90 percent of kindergarten students statewide had received all required immunizations in the 2014-15 school year. That means there were approximately 51,383 children running around in California (mostly clustered in wealthy enclaves like Malibu, where Carrey lived for many years) potentially spreading diseases we'd previously considered eradicated, like measles. The new law does provide some exemptions, but children who are not vaccinated will not be allowerd at public schools or daycares.
Carrey's tweet was immediately ridiculed by hundreds of Twitter followers who suggested he stick to acting. He then unleashed a barrage of justifications and clarifications.
They say mercury in fish is dangerous but forcing all of our children to be injected with mercury in thimerosol is no risk. Make sense?— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
Carrey's anti-vaccination stance is nothing new. In 2009, he wrote an op-ed for the Huffington Post comparing vaccines to smoking cigarettes. It's a viewpoint he picked up while dating Jenny McCarthy who has said on the record that she believes vaccines caused her son to develop autism. That's a claim common amongst anti-vaxxers. Most point to a 1997 study by Andrew Wakefield, a study which has since been discredited due to procedural errors and financial conflicts of interest, and Wakefield's medical license has been revoked.
Carey's arguments sound convincing, but they are based on junk science. According to the Centers for Disease Control — an organization Carrey accused of being corrupt in a subsequent tweet — thimerosal poses no risk to humans, though it does contain trace amounts of mercury.
The CDC can't solve a problem they helped start. It's too risky to admit they have been wrong about mercury/thimerasol. They are corrupt.— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
"There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site," the CDC reports.
While it poses no threat, thimerosal has been removed from most vaccines anyway. In fact, there is no thimerosal present in the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella — a vaccine which has earned particular ire in the anti-vaxxer community — and there never was.
Vaccinating children poses nearly no risk to their health; choosing not to vaccinate not only puts the child in harm's way, but also endangers other immunocompromised persons — pregnant women, the elderly, and those who've had cancer or organ transplants — that un-vaccinated children come into contact with.
While there were barely more than 50 measles infections in the U.S. in 2009, there had already been 288 cases in the country this year before the end of May. Most of those cases have been linked to the unvaccinated; a recent study found "substandard vaccination" to have been the cause of a massive measles outbreak at Disneyland earlier this year.
As the CDC writes, "timely vaccination is the best way to prevent measles," a disease which kills an estimated 400 people worldwide every day. Or, you can seek your medical advice from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. It's your call.