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Just 10 Celebrities Who Have Made Seriously Misinformed Statements About Vaccines

From Alicia Silverstone to Kat Von D.

As of today, only 51% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, despite growing Delta concerns.

Person getting the COVID vaccine
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

With so many people refusing the COVID vaccine — even though it is CDC-recommended and proven to be safe — I thought it would be interesting to look back and see which celebrities have taken anti-vax stances in the past:

Note: Just because a celebrity previously made anti-vax statements does not mean they still hold those beliefs today. It also does not mean they refused to get the COVID vaccine.

1. Jenny McCarthy

Jenny smiling
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Though she calls herself "pro-safe-vaccine schedule," the model is widely considered the face of the anti-vax movement. She blamed her son's autism on the MMR vaccine and the "compilation of so many shots" — despite the medical community refuting this claim.

Jenny grinning
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

The idea that vaccines could trigger autism was famously proposed in 1998 by the now-disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield. It was discovered that he had failed to disclose financial interests (his funding came from lawyers who had been engaged by parents in lawsuits against vaccine-producing companies). The paper was redacted, and Andrew was found guilty of ethical violations, scientific misrepresentation, and deliberate fraud. He was barred from practicing medicine.

Jenny spent many years as the spokesperson for Generation Rescue, a controversial organization that has been accused of spreading dangerous disinformation. She's also written several books on the subject.

Jenny grinning
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

2. Jim Carrey

Jim smiling
Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

The actor, who dated Jenny McCarthy for five years, has repeatedly objected to thimerosal — which was ironically added to vaccines during the 1930s to help prevent potentially life-threatening contamination with harmful microbes.

I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!

Jim Carrey / Twitter: @JimCarrey

After some loud pushback from misinformed people, public health agencies agreed to remove the thimerosal from most childhood vaccines out of an abundance of caution in 2001. According to the CDC, "Even after thimerosal was removed from almost all childhood vaccines, autism rates continued to increase, which is the opposite of what would be expected if thimerosal caused autism."

In an interview with HuffPost, Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, rejected Jim's claim that thimerosal is dangerous.

Jim smiling
Christopher Polk / Getty Images for AFI

"What makes Jim Carrey anti-vaccine is that he takes a non-issue, and he makes it an issue," the doctor said. "He puts out misinformation about vaccines, and therefore, he’s anti-vaccine."

3. Kat Von D

Kat smiling
Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Getty Images

In June 2018, the celebrated tattoo artist shared a picture of her baby bump in a now-deleted Instagram post. She revealed her "personal approach to pregnancy," including the "intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccines."

Picture of Kat's Instagram post showing her baby bump and caption

Fans were outraged by the statement and immediately began boycotting her makeup line.

I can't believe that Kat Von D isn't gonna vaccinate her kids. Absolute madness. Gutted as I've only recently bought her 10 year anniversary palette. Looks like I'm gonna have to boycott her brand. I don't like injections but I know they're vital for not only me, but others.

Twitter: @McInHeather

After the backlash, Kat made another IG post. She wrote, "My husband and I are NOT anti-vaxxers. We are not against vaccines. Just because we have hesitancies and valid concerns about injecting our baby with specific chemicals and toxins does not mean we are anti anything. As a soon-to-be parent (and especially as a first-time mom) I do feel it my responsibility to have questions, and to listen to my motherly instinct to question things, and do my research."

4. Lisa Bonet

Lisa grinning
John Shearer / Getty Images

Back in 1990, the actor appeared on The Phil Donahue Show, where she discussed vaccines and the reason why she chose not to vaccinate her daughter, Zoë Kravitz.

Lisa talking on the talk show
NBCUniversal

Lisa worried about introducing "alien microorganisms into our children's blood." She also mistakenly stated that the long-term effects could be "trivial, or they could be quite hazardous."

Lisa grinning
Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

5. Jessica Biel

Jessica smiling
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

In June 2019, the actor lobbied against California Senate Bill 276, which gave the state's department of public health the final say in whether children can be medically exempt from the required vaccines to go to school.

Jessica standing with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in front of a sign saying "The California state senate welcomes Jessica Biel"
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. / Instagram

The author of SB 276, Sen. Richard Pan, told the Los Angeles Times that kids were receiving exemptions for unrelated issues like asthma and diabetes.

She met lawmakers with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a highly controversial man who has referred to vaccines as "a holocaust" and claimed that "the cure for most measles is Vitamin A."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. smiling
Phillip Chin / Wireimage / Getty Images

Soon after, Jessica hopped on Instagram to address the backlash she received. "I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations, and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians," she wrote.

6. Rob Schneider

Rob smiling
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

In 2012, the actor told News10 Sacramento, "The doctors are not gonna tell you both sides of the issue. They’re told by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, that it’s completely safe."

Rob smiling
Joshua Blanchard / Getty Images for A24

"The efficacy of these shots have not been proven," he continued. "And the toxicity of these things — we’re having more and more side effects. We’re having more and more autism."

Rob grinning
David Livingston / Getty Images

Again, there is absolutely no evidence to support any link between vaccines and autism.

7. Alicia Silverstone

Alicia smiling
John Shearer / Getty Images

In 2014, the Clueless actor published The Kind Mama, a guide to empower women to take charge of their fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood.

The cover of her book, The Kind Mama
Harmony/Rodale

In it, Alicia states that the number of vaccines given to children has increased compared to 20 years ago. She writes, "There has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-'em-up schedule."

Alicia grinning
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

She cautioned new moms that there were increasing anecdotes from "doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was 'never the same' after receiving a vaccine."

Alicia grinning
Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

8. Kristin Cavallari

Kristin smiling
Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

In 2014, the former The Hills star told Fox Business that she chose not to vaccinate her 1-year-old son. She repeated the myth that vaccinations are linked to autism and shared the misinformed view that the mercury in them is dangerous.

Kristin smiling
John Shearer / Getty Images

On Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Kristin said, "There are very scary statistics out there regarding what is in vaccines and what they cause: asthma, allergies, ear infections, all kinds of things. We feel like we are making the best decision for our kids."

Kristin smiling
Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

9. Toni Braxton

Toni smiling
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

In 2006, the singer announced her son, who was 3 years old at the time, was diagnosed with autism.

David Livingston / Getty Images

In her 2014 memoir, Unbreak My Heart, the singer incorrectly suggests vaccines might have had something to do with it. "Maybe it's just a coincidence that after my son's first MMR vaccine, I began to notice changes in him."

The cover of her book, Unbreak My Heart
HarperCollins

10. And finally, Robert De Niro

Robert smiling
Andrew Toth / Getty Images for DIRECTTV

In 2016, Robert, who has an autistic son, defended the inclusion of Vaxxed in the Tribecca Film Festival. The movie about the alleged danger of vaccines was directed by Andrew Wakefield — the same former physician whose beliefs have been repeatedly debunked.

Robert posing with no smile
Gareth Cattermole / Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

After backlash from the medical and cinematic communities, Robert — a co-founder of the film festival — agreed to pull the movie.

In 2017, Robert participated in an anti-vax panel for the World Mercury Project, now called the Children's Health Defense. After Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made a speech about vaccines being unsafe for some children, the actor said, "I thought what Bobby said was great. It was eloquent. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I agree with him 100%."

Robert posing with no smile
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Despite what these celebrities may have said, there is absolutely no evidence to support any claims that vaccinations are unsafe. To learn more about vaccines, you can visit the CDC's website.

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