So... another celebrity mom has come out against vaccines. Expectant mama Kristin Cavallari told the Fox Business show The Independents last week that autism fears have kept her from vaccinating her 18-month-old son, Camden.
"We didn't vaccinate," she told host Lisa Kennedy. "I read too many books about autism and there's studies...Now, one in 88 boys is autistic and that's a scary statistic."
Responding to the harsh backlash that resulted, Cavallari explained on Fox & Friends that she never intended to go public with her decision.
"Listen, to each their own," she said. "I understand both sides of it. I've read too many books about autism and there's some scary statistics out there. It's our personal choice, and, you know, if you're really concerned about your kid get them vaccinated and it shouldn't be a problem."
(Interestingly, the original interview aired on March 13th—the same day that Jenny McCarthy got vilified on Twitter for her beliefs about vaccines and autism when she posted a question that had nothing to do with either vaccines or autism.)
Look, I'm not going to hate on a fellow mama for making a decision that she feels is best for her child. When I was a new mom, I, too, was fearful of the high number of shots my sweet boy was getting. I chose to delay some of his vaccines—including the MMR shot.
But as the link between autism and vaccines was repeatedly, consistently debunked by expert sources I respected, I grew less fearful. I also had the experience of making a trip to the ER with my sick son one night and having to answer "no" when the doctors asked if he was up to date on his vaccines. And while his illness had nothing to do with his not yet having had the MMR shot, the mere thought that it could have made me sick with guilt.
Today, both of my kids are completely up to date on their vaccines, and my youngest has been vaccinated on schedule.
Cavallari loses me when she trots out the "if you're really concerned about your kid get them vaccinated and it shouldn't be a problem" line. Because, as we all know, when some parents don't vaccinate their kids, it can be a problem for those who do believe in vaccination. It can be a problem for children who are too young to receive vaccinations. It can be a problem for the elderly in a community.
Earlier this month a measles outbreak occurred in New York City, with more than 15 confirmed cases in parts of Manhattan and the Bronx. According to news reports, the majority of the kids affected were not vaccinated, either because they were too young or their parents decided against it. As a NYC resident, I find this outbreak scary—especially because, at 2 ½, my youngest child hasn't had his second scheduled MMR shot yet.
It sounds like Cavallari is reluctant to be a known "anti-vaxxer." She was on Fox & Friends to promote her new trend-forecasting TV show, The Fabulist (which premieres tonight), not to talk about vaccines. But given her new gig, I hope other new mamas don't follow her lead on this one.
Tell us: What do you think about Kristin Cavallari's anti-vaccine stance?
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Image of Kristin Cavallari courtesy of Shutterstock