Applause For Claire McCarthy, M.D.
January has been a busy month here on Shot of Prevention. We’ve had a parent speak out on the significance of HPV protection for her son, a pharmacuetical employee comment on how proud she is to help ensure the safety of vaccines, we’ve even had a nurse call out the non-vaccinating Patriot nurse for sharing misleading information on YouTube. Of course, let’s not forget about the return of Andrew Wakefield and his plans to sue for libel.
Which leads me to a great editorial that appeared this morning in The Huffington Post, entitled Unencumbered By Facts: What Upsets Me Most About the Anti-vaccine Movement. In this article, Claire McCarthy, M.D, who is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, explained why the appearance of Andrew Wakefield on Good Morning American had given her the chills. (View it for yourself and you’ll see exactly what she is referring to.)
She explains that “My only crusade as a pediatrician is to keep my patients healthy — and vaccines are part of what I use to do just that.” But she questions how doctors are supposed to help parents understand the enormous benefits and occasional risks of vaccines when “We stick to the facts. But people like Andrew Wakefield don’t.”
Dr. McCarthy does a great job of communicating her frustration and explaining the challenges the medical community has in countering the much publicized anti-vaccine rhetoric. And while she speaks as one individual pediatrician, I would venture to guess that many others have echoed her views, but are, as she described, often “drowned out” by the headlines and airtime devoted to people like Andrew Wakefield.
She concludes her article by referring to what Wakefield says at the end of the Good Morning America interview;
“Wakefield encouraged parents to get educated, and to read about immunizations. He even suggested the CDC website. He said, emphatically, that there are two sides to the story. I couldn’t agree more. But just one of them is grounded in facts.”