Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey
Jenny McCarthy's son Evan, now 11, was diagnosed with autism in 2005. Since then, The View co-host has spoken at length about what she believes is a link between the behavioral disorder and vaccinations given to children.
But in a Chicago Sun Times op-ed published Saturday, McCarthy wrote that she's "pro-vaccine," claiming she's been "wrongly branded as 'anti-vaccine.'"
"This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position I have recently adopted," she wrote, adding, "I've never told anyone to not vaccinate."
"My beautiful son, Evan, inspired this mother to question the 'one size fits all' philosophy of the recommended vaccine schedule," she said. "I embarked on this quest not only for myself and my family, but for countless parents who shared my desire for knowledge that could lead to options and alternate schedules, but never to eliminate the vaccines."
"I believe in the importance of a vaccine program," she wrote, "and I believe parents have the right to choose one poke per visit."
The 42-year-old actress-turned-advocate referenced a 2009 Time Magazine interview with science editor Jeffrey Kluger in which she said: "People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines...Please understand that we are not an anti-vaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins.""
Kluger responded with an open letter to McCarthy, highlighting some of the more polarizing quotes she fails to rehash in her latest op-ed. He refused to let the actress backtrack or even relax her controversial stance, telling her, "It's just too late to play cute with the things you've said."
Kluger wrote that "outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough continue to appear in the U.S." and are mostly "the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children because of the scare stories passed around by anti-vaxxers like you..."
"You are either floridly, loudly, uninformedly antivaccine or you are the most grievously misunderstood celebrity of the modern era," he added. "Science almost always prefers the simple answer, because that's the one that's usually correct. Your quote trail is far too long—and you have been far too wrong—for the truth not to be obvious."