This was originally a letter to Whitney Cummings’ manager or booking agent or whomever. Sent on August 24th, 2010.
Good day Mr. Katz,
I’m sure you’ve already gotten an earful from readers of the blog “Respectful Insolence,” and I am merely one more voice.
In regards to Ms. Cummings’ appearance at the “Comedy for Kids With Autism” comedy show, scheduled for Saturday September 11, 2010, it is ran, hosted by, and organized by a group called “Generation Rescue,” a notable anti-vaccination group that disseminates misinformation about vaccinations which have, at least in part, contributed to declining vaccination rates and higher rates of pertussis outbreaks, particularly in California, compromising herd immunity, and putting vulnerable people, notably the elderly and very young, both groups unable to be vaccinated and rely on the herd immunity to protect them, at risk of preventable diseases that can cause injury and death.
Having Ms. Cummings’ name attached to such a group and effort would make it seem like she supports these anti-scientific groups in spreading their misinformation that puts people in harm’s way. Such an association would continue to give these efforts a semblance of respectability and integrity that they do not deserve.
I would like to remind you and Ms. Cummings that vaccines have not been shown to cause autism (the main claim of Generation Rescue), and, in fact, have saved countless lives. In the 20th century alone, nearly half a billion people died of smallpox, a disease now completely eradicated thanks to the efforts of a vaccination program the world over. Similar efforts are being done with polio, which tremendous effect.
While Generation Rescue’s main target is the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine, it is not limited to such. Anti-vaccination misinformation has resulted in lowered vaccination rates in some communities in the United States, and have seen preventable diseases come back, such as pertussis. Pertussis, if not treated properly and promptly can be fatal, and newborns are especially vulnerable, as they’re not old enough to receive the vaccine.
As has been said earlier, vaccinations have not been shown to cause autism. There have been numerous independent studies done worldwide, and except for one study, by the anti-vaccinationist movement’s so-called “messiah” Andrew Wakefield, none have been shown to link autism with vaccinations. The one that has, by Andrew Wakefield, now a discredited and disbarred medical doctor and researcher, was the subject of numerous ethics violations, including cooking the data, and having a financial stake in it’s conclusion that vaccines cause autism.
Generation Rescue, and other organizations like it, are public health dangers. Many times over the years, they have changed their story about what about vaccines cause autism. First it was thimerosal, then aluminum, the vaccination schedule, the frequency of vaccinations, antifreeze, ether, and most recently, ambiguous “toxins.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this and considering a change in venue for Ms. Cummings.