Katie Couric Puts the Anti-Vaccination Movement Into the Mainstream
The anti-vaccination movement has long since become a public menace. It’s responsible for the resurgence of numerous serious diseases that were on the decline, including measles, mumps, and whooping cough.
Now the movement has been given a big booster shot by Katie Couric, who devoted a large portion of her daily talk show Wednesday to some highly emotional and scientifically dubious claims by critics of Gardasil, a leading vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV.
The segment focused on a mother convinced that her 20-year-old daughter died after a cycle of Gardasil immunization and a second family whose 14-year-old daughter fell ill after the shots. Neither presented any medical evidence to support their claims.
Alarm about the show’s HPV segment was raised in advance by science writer Seth Mnookin, who reported that he had been contacted back in July by a producer for the show, who suggested that the segment would be aimed at debunking the misconception that childhood vaccines are linked to autism. This is a dangerous claim retailed by, among others, the starlet Jenny McCarthy, who currently has a perch on the talk show “The View.”