Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Would Amanda Peet Do?

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about a teen vaccine schedule. Apparently the drug companies realized they were leaving lot money on table by not going after teens with the same vigor as they currently go after infants and toddlers. Additionally the government do-gooders probably realized there was a lot of do-gooding left to be done and additional budget resources to be claimed by targeting our twelve through eighteen year olds.

My daughter falls into this twelve to eighteen year old group, so all this talk got me to thinking, “What if we were wrong all along? What if vaccines actually were the right choice?”

I raised the issue with my wife who, insightful as always, said, "You know whose opinion I‘d like to get?" 

"No, who?" 

"Amanda Peet." 

"Yes that’s it! Amanda Peet."

My wife had hit the nail on the head

I’d been impressed by Ms. Peet since she burst onto the entertainment scene back in the 90s, appearing in both a Skittles television commercial and an episode of Law & Order

“But, maybe her voice would echo those of other celebrites, celebrites who questioned the safety of vaccines,” I told my wife.

“Amanda peet isn’t like other celebrites!” she snapped. “We’ll just have to sit tight until we find out where she stands on the issue.” 

So I got to work and googled Amanda Peet and vaccines and vaccination and discovered she was actually quite active speaking out for vaccines, even calling parents who don’t vaccinate parasites. Additionally I found she was affiliated with a shadowy vaccine activism group known as Every Child by Two and under the tutelage of noted vaccine guru Dr. Paul Offit.

With Amanda Peet, supported by a respected medical professional, firmly behind vaccines, my wife and I agreed: it was time for the catch-up schedule. Since Dr. Offit says that a child can theoretically receive 100,000 vaccines at one time and that those that space out vaccines risk their children’s lives by increasing the time to which they are vulnerable to largely non-existent infections illnesses, I hoped we could get my daughter in for all forty-five or so doses she’d missed over the last fifteen years.

But when I called the pediatricians office, the receptionist said the doctor couldn’t actually give all the vaccines one day.

That’s strange I thought, so I looked a little more deeply into Offit’s background. What I found was troubling to say the least. Offit, I discovered, was on record stating that vaccines were safer than vitamins. But I’d never heard of vitamins causing seizures or hours of non-stop high-pitched crying. There wasn’t even a National Vitamin Injury Compensation Program

Additionally, I learned that Offit, responding to concerns that vaccines might cause autism, said studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated had been done (It’s common knowledge that they haven’t. Only one vaccine, the MMR, and one vaccine ingredient, thimerisol, have ever been studied to any great extent) Additionally Offit, in another interview, contradicts himself by stating studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children would be both unethical (some children would not have the protection of vaccines) and even if such studies were performed, they would be "fraught with bias."

Furthermore, it came to my attention that Dr. Offit, when discussing the risks posed by vaccine-preventable illnesses, is often wildly off base. For example he states that, in the pre-vaccine era,  deaths as a result of measles-related complications numbered 3,000 while in reality the number was only about 450.

So if Offit was clueless and he was Peet's mentor, how could we trust her opinion? I was crestfallen. With my faith in Amanda Peet crushed, I had to look to myself and trust the information that I, and not vaccine special interests such as ECBT, had gathered over the years: information that said vaccines didn't deliver enough reward to offset the risks they presented.  Ms. Peet, Dr. Offit and ECBT could have their shots, but for us and our teen, there would be no vaccine.


  1. Hahaha I love it!

  2. It truly frightens me that ANYONE would EVER look to a Celebrity for advice on such a subject. The first time I heard about Amanda Peet doing Pro-Vaccine activism my fist reaction was "Why would anyone care what she thinks" Unfortunately, there are actually those out there who choose to listen to celebs over research, and there are way to many celebs out there who choose a paycheck over facts.

  3. How is listening to Amanda Peet any different than listening to Jenny McCarthy?

  4. I think one big difference is that Amanda, following the instructions of vested interests living of the vaccine program, is telling parents what to do, i.e., "Vaccinate your baby" while Jenny is simply relating her experience regarding her experience with vaccines. Additionally Jenny asks that vaccines be made safer. She doesn't insult parents who vaccinate nor does she tell them, "Don't vaccinate your baby" I don't encourage anyone to blindly obey celebrities but I do point out some reason not to follow Peet's advice. I'm sure those on the other side of the debate have spent much time writing about why one should disregard Ms McCarthy. Parents can look at both sides of the argument and make their decisions with that in mind

  5. Great article, made me lol!

  6. Thanks, seems like we have a lot of commenters with the same name: Anonymous

  7. A comparison study isn't "unethical." What's really suspicious is the reluctance of the most vocal vaccine promoter in the world
    to call for such a study. There are now thousands and thousands of parents out there too scared to vaccinate and they're exempting
    their children. THE STUDY GROUP IS OUT THERE. If vaccines are so safe and there's absolutely no link to autism---then Offit should be
    demanding that we look at both groups. If NEVER-VAXED KIDS have the same health problems as FULLY-VAXED KIDS, then the proof would be there
    for all to see!....If never-vaxed kids also have a one percent autism rate, we could all stop talking. What's Offit afraid a study like this will show?

    Anne Dachel
    Media editor: Age of Autism

  8. @Anne

    Offit argues that "health-care seeking behavior" could confound the study (Less doctor visits would lead to reduced autism recognition). And perhaps this would make sense in the case of a non-vaccinating family letting a child with a cough fight it off without medical attention. But I doubt someone reluctant about vaccines would at no time seek medical attention for a child displaying symptoms of autism. Regardless, it's strange that science can devise experiments to unravel the mysteries of DNA but cannot account for some possibly confounding variables in regards to a condition affecting so many children.

  9. Wow! This is the first time I've passed trough the black hole portal into the backward universe of the antivaxers. You guys are crazy over here.

    Why are you guys so anti-science?

    Why have you all became delusional and unable to see reality?

    Its like you want to think of yourselves as the "real" scientific thinkers, but you ignore all the real scientific knowledge.

    It reminds me of creationist.

    Do you all realize your arguments mirror the rational of the creationist?

    Do you accept the scientific method as the main process of gaining knowledge?

    Do you know what the scientific method is?

    Do you know how to use critical thinking along with the scientific method to figure stuff out?

    Why would you ignore to people who do??

    I'm guessing its because you employ multiple logical fallacies when deciding whats true.

    You really should stop doing that, it makes your wolrd view look backwards.

    See ya later, I'm tele-porting back to reality now. Bye bye and good luck.

  10. @Scott

    I'm neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine, but I plan to start a family in a few years and I've been studying both sides of the debate with my fiancee.

    From what I've seen, most (not all) anitvaxxers present their arguments reasonably and include some evidence such as links to articles or studies. At the same time, many (not all) pro-vaxxers follow an extremist, moral high ground path where they insult and dismiss antivaxxers as quacks instead of addressing their concerns. You seem to fit this profile.

    Do you really think you're making any case for vaccination by posting a string of patronizing questions and ridiculing statements?

    Reading your post gives one the impression that you're so submerged in your beliefs and the status quo that you've lost the ability to think critically about it.

    If antivaxxers are wrong, why not just engage in debate with them and present your side with all the scientific evidence you refer to?

    It would certainly give you a lot more credibility from moderate, undecided people like me.

    I for one would love to read the scientific evidence in favour of vaccination that you refer to. And yes, I'm well aware of what the scientific method is.

  11. Amanda Peet became a vaccination activist because her son got whooping cough, in between shots for it. She said he was very sick for six weeks.
    He almost certainly got it from someone who hadn't been vaccinated for whooping cough. Apparently not vaccinating one's children was very common among her Hollywood friends.

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