- The World Health Organization called “vaccine hesitancy” a global health threat for 2019.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is “no link between vaccines and autism.”
- Celebrities including Julie Bowen, Hillary Clinton, and Jennifer Garner have spoken out about the necessity of vaccinations.
Despite extensive amounts of research, the myth that vaccinations cause autism or other life-changing side effects persists.
The World Health Organization (WHO) listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the 10 global health threats for 2019, saying, “vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among many other organizations, also has a section on its website addressing vaccinations and autism. “Studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD [autism spectrum disorder],” it says.
We’ve rounded up 14 celebrities who have used their platforms to shut down anti-vaxxing myths and speak out about the need for vaccinating our children and ourselves.
Kristen Bell wrote an article for HuffPost in support of vaccinations.
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“As to the benefits of vaccinations, it has been proven; they work,” the “Good Place” actress wrote in an article for HuffPost. “That’s enough for me to climb up on a soap box, make some ugly cardboard sign in my garage, and let other mothers know that it’s safe, important, and bigger than emotion: It’s the truth.”
Julie Bowen’s kids are vaccinated.
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Julie Bowen reached out to her loved ones when deciding whether to vaccinate her kids.
“I spoke with my sister, who is an infectious disease doctor – and then also with my own doctor and my pediatrician, who said to me: ‘By not vaccinating your children, you’re putting them at serious risk.’ That was it for me,” the “Modern Family” actress said in an interview with WebMD. “Once I made that decision, there were a few tears – mostly mine – but now all three boys are on regular vaccination schedules.”
Sarah Michelle Gellar wants to protect everyone’s children.
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“Having children is the greatest gift anyone’s ever given me, and if I can help protect anyone else’s gift, then it’s not just my pleasure, but it’s my responsibility to do it,” the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actress told Parade of her decision to encourage parents to get their kids vaccinated against whooping cough.
Amanda Peet said she lost some friends when she started speaking out in support of vaccinations.
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“I got a lot of hate mail and I lost a couple of friends,” the “Romanoffs” actress told CNN in 2015 of her decision to support vaccination. “It’s definitely very hard to have faith in the regulatory agencies in our government, but I think to suggest that the CDC, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – just to name a few – are all in a massive conspiracy to underplay the dangers of vaccines is a bewildering leap.”
Salma Hayek has spoken out about the dangers of not vaccinating children.
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“The thought of losing a child to a disease which can be easily prevented seems unbearable, especially when it is within our power to prevent it,” Salma Hayek told UNICEF. “If you knew how to help save a child’s life, what could stop you?” Hayek is a UNICEF ambassador.
Jennifer Garner said vaccinations “should be a family priority.”
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The “13 Going on 30” actress has long been an advocate for flu shots and other vaccinations and in 2007 joined the American Lung Association’s “Faces of Influenza” campaign as a spokesperson.
“I want to help make sure that all moms across the country understand that influenza is serious and that vaccination should be a family priority,” she told ABC News.
Bill and Melinda Gates spread information about the benefits of vaccination through their foundation.
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Bill and Melinda Gates have a page dedicated to investing in vaccines on their foundation’s website. “Vaccines save millions of lives each year and are among the most cost-effective health interventions ever developed,” the website reads.
“We are working to ensure that existing life-saving vaccines are introduced into countries where people need them most.”
Jennifer Lopez encourages parents to vaccinate their children against whooping cough.
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J-Lo joined The Sounds of Pertussis in 2009 as a spokesperson to encourage parents to get their kids the whooping-cough vaccine. “This issue is important to me,” she said. “I didn’t know too much about it before becoming a parent, but whooping cough is on the rise.”
Jon Stewart said there’s a “needlessly sick America.”
As with many late-night hosts, Jon Stewart has shut down anti-vaxxers on air. “They’re not rednecks. They’re not ignorant. They practice a mindful stupidity,” he said in 2015 of “science-denying, affluent California liberals” who don’t believe in vaccination. “There’s no red America. There’s no blue America. There’s just a needlessly sick America.”
Serena Williams distributed vaccines in Ghana.
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The tennis star visited Ghana in 2006 to help distribute vaccines to fight measles. She told the mothers who brought their children to get vaccinated that she would talk about the experience in the US, saying, “That way people can be more aware of diseases like malaria, and getting the polio vaccine and all these vaccinations that are so necessary and so vital for children’s health.”
Hillary Clinton said “the science is clear.”
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As with many politicians, Hillary Clinton has been vocal about her support of vaccinations. “The science is clear,” she tweeted in 2015. “The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest.”
Similarly, former President Barack Obama said the science is “pretty indisputable.”
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Former President Barack Obama has also spoken out about vaccines. “I understand that there are families that in some cases are concerned about the effect of vaccinations,” he said. “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”
Olivia Wilde vaccinated her son, Otis, in 2015.
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Olivia Wilde announced on Twitter that her son was getting vaccinated. “Our little dude Otis has his next round of vaccinations tomorrow!” she posted in 2015. “I’m so grateful to be able to protect him and his kid community.”
Kristi Yamaguchi gets her kids vaccinated regularly.
- Larry French/Getty Images for USOC
“I take my daughters to get vaccinated every year and ask everyone in contact with them to make sure they are vaccinated as well, to help create a cocoon of protection,” the figure skater said in an interview.