McCarthy is a prominent anti-vaxxer — a growing segment of individuals who believe that autism is caused by vaccinations. McCarthy’s son was diagnosed with autism in 2005.
This is a dangerous view. That’s because vaccines are incredibly effective at controlling and eliminating infectious diseases.
There are 14 diseases that can be prevented with routine childhood vaccination, according to the centres for Disease Control. This includes the flu, whooping cough, measles, and mumps.
The chart below gives some examples of how diseases levels declines since vaccinations began. Check out the right column for the incredible drop in annual morbidity for each pre- and post-vaccine.
Because of the anti-vaccine movement, including McCarthy’s outspoken anti-vax stance, there has been an increase in vaccine exemptions over the last several years.
This has led to an upsurge in the rate of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially whooping cough (known as pertussis to doctors). A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2013 found that in New York “counties with high exemptions had overall higher rates of reported pertussis.”
Here’s the chart:
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