Aug 06 2008

Amanda Peet Defends Vaccines on GMA

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Comments: 15

I didn’t think that Amanda Peet could get any sexier for standing up for science and the safety of vaccines, but her appearance on Good Morning American yesterday was outstanding. Here is the money quote:

“It seems that the media is often giving celebrities and actors more authority on this issue than they are giving the experts. I know it’s a paradox, but that’s part of why I wanted to become a spokesperson, to say to people, ‘Please don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to actors. Go to the experts.’”

Is it crazy of me to think that maybe Ms. Peet read my blog entry where I made the exact same point? I applauded her efforts while simultaneously pointing out that the media gives far too much attention to celebrities on this issue. Even still, GMA is playing the debate over vaccines as a battle between Amanda Peet and Jenny McCarthy – Um…maybe the scientific medical community might have an opinion as well.

Peet gets it exactly right – she is just being a spokesperson for expert consensus opinion – not substituting her own scientific opinion.

Meanwhile, the new pinup girl for the anti-vaccination movement, Jenny McCarthy, has been trying to get the troops out to counter the new American Academy of Pediatrics effort to promote vaccinations. Orac has the scoop – and he correctly points out such efforts to thwart the AAP’s initiative shows that McCarthy is full-blown anti-vaccine, not “pro-safe vaccine” as she unconvincingly claims.

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Reminder – my main blog entry on Wednesdays is over at Science-Based Medicine.

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15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Amanda Peet Defends Vaccines on GMA”

  1. JustinWilsonon 06 Aug 2008 at 9:40 am

    I am very impressed. It’s funny that this debate is still happening in the celebrity arena though.

  2. halincohon 06 Aug 2008 at 11:03 am

    We, physicians, needed this. Only yesterday did I have to debunk this new version McCarthyism with a mother of a child to be vaccinated. Of course, I’ve discussed the indication for vaccines, the real benefits and the real risks for years with patients, but this was only the second or third time that the mother actually led with the statement, ” Jenny McCarthy said … ” Maybe, I can now reply with the statement, ” but Amanda Peet says … ” The sad thing is that a reply like that would truly carry weight. Decades ago, Marshall McCluhan said, ” the medium is the message.” The statement might need an addendum in this day and age: “those in the medium are the message as well.”

  3. Tom Nielsenon 06 Aug 2008 at 12:16 pm

    “Is it crazy of me to think that maybe Ms. Peet read my blog entry where I made the exact same point?”

    No, I was thinking the exact same thing. Or maybe it’s her brother, the physician, that reads this blog and tells her about it. Was she said was stunningly in tune with your previous blog posts.

    I have to admit that when it comes to sexy intelligence, Rebecca Watson has some real competition here.

    Amanda Peet, if you are reading this. We love you, you are awesome, and keep up the good work.

  4. timmysonon 06 Aug 2008 at 1:04 pm

    “the media gives far too much attention to celebrities on this issue”

    And most, if not all other issues. The only time when celebrity status overlaps with scientists is when the win a nobel. And even then, they have a hard time getting attention.

  5. [...] if as they claim, they’re not anti-vaccine, what seems to be the problem? Update: Here’s another blog on this that includes a link to a clip of Amanda Peet being interviewed on Good Morning America about [...]

  6. DevilsAdvocateon 06 Aug 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Though Ms. Peet is to be commended, it still rankles that such common sense advice – for medical info, ask medical experts – goes largely unheeded until a Hollywood personality speaks it.

    Well, my doctor is recommending a lithotripsy for these stubborn kidney stones of mine. Let me see if I can get Julia Roberts on the phone to see what she thinks about it.

  7. godkillzyouon 06 Aug 2008 at 3:11 pm

    What a breath of fresh air…

    I just wish I could hear what Ja Rule thinks about vaccines.

  8. superdaveon 06 Aug 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I scanned the comments for that ABC news story. Even the pro vaccination parents are making statements like, I vaccinated my kids and the did not get autism, so vaccines don’t cause autism. I don’t to tell readers of this blog why this is fallacious. I think more important the educating parents about autism is educating them about the fallacy of using anecdotal evidence.

  9. Groovydocon 06 Aug 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I’d also like to thank Amanda for being a voice of reason amongst the Hollywood crowd. Unfortunately, most of my medical use of celebrities is as scary anecdotes related to the dangers of prescription medicines, for which I’d rather not have examples. Thanks to Ms. Peet, I now have a counter celeb to name for my friend’s wife, who believes in authority from celebrity!

  10. tooth fairyon 06 Aug 2008 at 7:04 pm

    authority from celebrity-that’s great!!!! Thank god here in australia it’s not a huge issue. i’ve been speaking to a few people i know who have recently had children and they haven’t even heard about when i’ve started talking to them about vaccination, so i’m glad in this instance i can expose them to the anti vax movement with good reliable info and great articles (thanks Doc). I’m not sure though wheather this is a testiment to the fact australians listen to their doctors or if it’s an indication we’re just so out of the loop down here?????? haha none the less i’m happy to say our B grade celebs dont’ have much persuasive power when it comes to science and thankfully we take everything your celebs with a grain of salt.

  11. tooth fairyon 06 Aug 2008 at 7:05 pm

    sorry about the typos there *sigh*

  12. halincohon 06 Aug 2008 at 9:01 pm

    The power of TV is especially bizarre, if not out and out scary. About ten years ago I did a local commercial for a fitness club here. Twas no big deal. It was one in a series of commercials running through different demographics of clientele. Standard stuff.

    In the weeks that followed suddenly ANYTHING I had to say about fitness or prevention became gospel. I’ve always been proactive in this regard. Nothing about my message changed overnight. Except … that I was on TV.

    The final straw of bizarreness occured when twin pre-teen girls ( I’d known them since they were in kindergarten ) came in and asked me to sign their autograph book. One day , maybe today, a friend of their’s will look at those pages and think, ” wow … Justin Timberlake … wowwww … Britney Spears and huh … halincoh???????”

  13. tai_fungon 08 Aug 2008 at 10:30 am

    My only regret is that she didn’t have a very good answer for the increase in autism diagnoses. She could have smacked down the question much better on that particular front. But on the whole, she made her point very well.

  14. isleson 11 Aug 2008 at 3:58 pm

    She conveyed just the right message, and was so brave! I think she knew exactly what she was getting into when she agreed to speak for childhood immunization and didn’t let the militant fringe scare her off.

    (Side note – the new X-Files movie does not do justice to her good looks – she was perfectly luminous on GMA.)

  15. [...] actress Amanda Peet decided to go up against Jenny McCarthy in a celebrity death match over the issue (or at least [...]

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