Jessica Biel has appeared to come out in support of anti-vaccinations, joining a growing number of celebrities including Jenny McCarthy, Kristin Cavallari and Alicia Silverstone who have chosen not to vaccinate their children.
The Sinner actress was pictured at the California State Assembly alongside American activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and the pair are thought to be petitioning the state against a new bill which aims to increase oversight of doctors notes, allowing parents to keep their children from being vaccinated.
Vaccine refusal is a ‘growing public health time bomb’, the head of the NHS warned in April after a report by Unicef found an estimated 169 million children around the world missed out on the first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017 – an average of 21.1 million a year.
Kennedy Jr. later claimed that Biel has been left ‘upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty’, in reference to the legislation which calls on stricter measures against doctors who allow parents not to vaccinate their children even if they do not have a legitimate medical reason.
‘I would say that she was for safe vaccines and for medical freedom,’ he told The Daily Beast.
‘She was a very effective advocate,’ he added.
‘She was very strong and very knowledgeable. Extremely well-informed. An extremely effective advocate.’
The US has the highest number of unprotected children, with 2,593,000 youngsters missing out on a measles vaccine.
The second most affected country was France, with 608,000 unvaccinated children over the same time period, followed by the UK, with 527,000.
Other countries including Argentina, Italy, Japan, Canada, Germany and Australia also made the top 10.
Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said: ‘The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children.
‘If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike.’
In the first three months of 2019, more than 110,000 measles cases were reported worldwide – up almost 300% on the same period the year before.
An estimated 110,000 people, most of them children, died from measles in 2017, a 22% rise on the previous year.
In Silverstone’s 2014 book The Kind Mama, she shared her own stance, claiming that ‘while there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was “never the same” after receiving a vaccine.’
Jenny McCarthy’s son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005 and she has since been a famously vocal critic of vaccines
In a 2010 interview with Frontline, she blamed her son’s condition on the the MMR shot he received as a baby, among other vaccines, and claimed that her evidence was ‘mommy instinct’.
Metro.co.uk has contacted reps for Biel for comment.
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