Jenny McCarthy’s Anti-Vax Doctor Makes Urgent Plea to Vaccinate

Jenny McCarthy’s Anti-Vax Doctor Makes Urgent Plea to Vaccinate February 10, 2019
shutter stock

Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine pediatrician for her son, Evan, is encouraging parents to vaccinate their children against the measles. Dr. Jay Gordon tweeted late last week that “Now is the Time” for parents to vaccinate their child due to outbreaks in multiple states. Gordon has long advocated against vaccines. He falsely believes vaccines cause autism.  McCarthy has helped catapult the doctor’s fringe beliefs mainstream.

On February 8, Dr. Gordon tweeted, “If you are living in the midst of a measles outbreak and you have an older unvaccinated child to whom you have been reluctant to give the MMR, now’s the time. There are personal AND public health considerations.”

Gordon practices as a pediatrician in Santa Monica, California. California’s neighbors to the north Oregon and Washington are in the midst of a fast-growing measles outbreak. Low vaccination rates in the two states have contributed to the virus spreading.

Previously vaccine-hesitant parents in Washington and Oregon are running to clinics to vaccinate their children. Clark County reported a 500% increase in requests for MMR vaccines during January.

Now it seems a staunchly anti-vaccine pediatrician is joining the ranks and urging parents to vaccinate their children — Dr. Gordon’s call to action conflicts with his previous statements on vaccines and the measles.

In 2015, Gordon called the measles a “benign childhood illness” in an interview with CBS. The discussion followed an outbreak of measles that started at Disney Land. An infected child visited the theme park, and the virus quickly spread. The Disney Land outbreak infected 147 people and spread to 7 states.

During the interview, Gordon bragged that most of his patients either received vaccines on a delayed schedule or were not vaccinated at all. He told the reporter,

“This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child,” said Dr. Gordon. “And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”

When a reporter pushed back about the seriousness of the virus, the doctor doubled down on his claims.

“You just said it, they’d get measles,” Dr. Gordon replied. “Not meningitis, not the plague, not Ebola, they’d get measles. Measles is almost an always a benign childhood illness.”

Anti-Vax doctors have long stated that the measles is a benign illness. However, they consistently omit that the virus can lead to severe complications like blindness, deafness, pneumonia, swelling in the brain, and in rare cases, death can occur.

For more than a decade, Dr. Gordon has promoted his anti-vaccine views through the media, his website, and articles he publishes. His relationship with Jenny McCarthy has allowed his views on vaccines to become more well known. McCarthy believes her son is ‘vaccine injured’ and has autism from the MMR.

Through the platform she amassed from her days on MTV, Playboy, and The View, McCarthy continues to push the false belief that vaccines contain toxic additives that damage children. She regularly pushes her views on vaccine dangers on her Sirius XM radio show.

Her outspokenness on vaccines has created a generation of parents that are scared of autism. She’s expanded her voice by authoring books on “healing” and “curing” autism. As a result, children around the country are needlessly harmed and abused by their parents based on her recommendations.

There have been more than a dozen studies that prove vaccines do not cause autism.  The CDC has an entire page on its website debunking the belief that vaccines cause autism. However, Gordon and McCarthy distrust the research.

Dr. Gordon has helped McCarthy shape her views on vaccines. In blog posts on his website, he discusses vaccine injuries, autism, and the ‘dangers’ of vaccines. When California introduced a bill to end personal exemptions for vaccines, the doctor testified against the bill. The bill SB 277 became law in June 2015.

When the law went into effect, Gordon reluctantly updated his website on the news. He posted the vaccine schedule and provided details for all age ranges. For parents that wanted to seek medical exemptions for their children, he said the clinic would review them through an application process.

With previous outbreaks, Dr. Gordon has consistently downplayed the severity of the virus. He’s never swayed in his claims that vaccines are unnecessary. His patients have been able to hide inside the herd and remain protected from preventable illnesses.

However, the vaccination rates around the country have dropped consistently for years. Several states have vaccination rates lower than what is necessary to achieve herd immunity. As more and more parents refuse vaccines, Dr. Gordon’s patients can no longer hide.

This reality could be why he is now doing an about-face on vaccines. By encouraging parents to vaccinate their children, he’s admitting that vaccines work and are effective.

Followers of Gordon quickly pointed out his hypocrisy and questioned his motives. Many seemed shocked that the doctor would suggest vaccinating.

Gordon responded to only one person about his altered point of view. After 11 years of pushing anti-vaccine rhetoric, the doctor admitted he’s become more moderate about vaccines.

Gordon’s shocking reversal on vaccines will give many within the anti-vaccine movement a moment to pause.

Will his biggest ally Jenny McCarthy have a “come to Jesus” moment and admit vaccines are effective and safe?

Are other anti-vaccine doctors willing to come forward and admit the error of their thinking?

Will this propel more parents to realize the danger they put their children in by opting out of vaccines?

These questions remain unknown. However, Gordon’s tweet will likely have a ripple effect in the anti-vaccine movement. Obviously, the most radical will not change their minds on vaccines. However, he might compel the parents that have sat on the fence for years and remained hesitant about vaccines to immunize their children.


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

Communicate with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Buy Katie Joy a cup of Coffee. 

Buy Me a Coffee at

Individuals wishing to help Katie with her expenses can become patrons. Patrons gain exclusive access to stories, new projects, and future books.




"The child did not get pinworms from eating animal waste. I am a veterinarian, and ..."

Mother Charged with Starving Children & ..."
"It was a little over ten years ago that a coworker's wife found an online ..."

Former LuLaRoe Consultants Suing For “Billions” ..."
"I don't feel sorry for these people. They bought into something with dollar signs in ..."

Former LuLaRoe Consultants Suing For “Billions” ..."
""sell more", yes, but to who?Just a question about the numbers : $12000/month is incredibly ..."

Former LuLaRoe Consultants Suing For “Billions” ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David Rice

    Vaccines are not associated with autism: an evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies. Taylor LE, et al. Vaccine. 2014. Show full citation Abstract There has been enormous debate regarding the possibility of a link between childhood vaccinations and the subsequent development of autism. This has in recent times become a major public health issue with vaccine preventable diseases increasing in the community due to the fear of a ‘link’ between vaccinations and autism. We performed a meta-analysis to summarise available evidence from case-control and cohort studies on this topic (MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Google Scholar up to April, 2014). Eligible studies assessed the relationship between vaccine administration and the subsequent development of autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Two reviewers extracted data on study characteristics, methods, and outcomes. Disagreement was resolved by consensus with another author. Five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children, and five case-control studies involving 9,920 children were included in this analysis. The cohort data revealed no relationship between vaccination and autism (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.06) or ASD (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.20), nor was there a relationship between autism and MMR (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.70 to 1.01), or thimerosal (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.31), or mercury (Hg) (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.93 to 1.07). Similarly the case-control data found no evidence for increased risk of developing autism or ASD following MMR, Hg, or thimerosal exposure when grouped by condition (OR: 0.90, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.98; p=0.02) or grouped by exposure type (OR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.76 to 0.95; p=0.01). Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, the components of the vaccines (thimerosal or mercury) or multiple vaccines (MMR) are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

  • Nobody says they are

  • SecMilChap

    Thanks for posting this important “reversal” of disinformation. Recalling my own “benign childhood disease”, I can recall internal hemorrhages, vomiting clotted blood, &c, plus fever, &c. Fortunately it didn’t strike when my “baby sister” (BA, RN, and back in school for a BSc in applied sych @ 72) was in utero. A year earlier and who knows what pre-birth damage she would have suffered from.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”
    Then why do I have at least one friend who is deaf? Someone who later on came close to Olympic standards in running. Hardly an unhealthy child. It’s time Americans got real and started suing these bastards for spreading diseases – at least in the absence of government action.

  • Jim Jones

    Itzhak Perlman (b. 1945) contracted polio at age four and has walked using leg braces and crutches since then and plays the violin while seated. As of 2018, he uses crutches or an electric Amigo scooter for mobility.

    Polio is harder to contract than measles. Why doesn’t this quack recommend against that vaccine?

  • Shoebutton

    Thank you for this.
    It may now sway many hard core anti-vaxxers, but hopefully hesitant parents will see the light.

  • Julian Edward Frost

    I think you mean, “no proper scientist who has studied the matter say they are”. Plenty of antivaxxers do.

  • Guest

    Everyone who chooses to vaccinate or not vaccinate is making the best choice for their child. I think everyone should know that when President Reagan took all liability away from vaccine makers in 1986, Health & Human Services(HHS) was tasked with studying the vaccine schedule every 2 years. Recently, under a FOIA request by Informed Consent Action Network, it has been found that HHS has been unable to provide any of the data. In other words, it wasn’t done. The schedule has exploded since 1986 and our children have traded mild childhood disease for lifelong debilitating autoimmune issues, asthma, life threatening food allergies, severe gut issues and yes, autism (there are hundreds of studies showing the relationship)…..even death. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over $4 BILLION to date to vaccines injured. I recommend you take some time to read the recent response that Informed Consent Action Network has sent HHS. You will learn that vaccines do not go through the same safety testing as other drugs. Most have a very short safety test period of 4-5 days. The document also states, “As for MMR, its package insert does not describe, as would be required by federal law, a single clinical trial of the MMR vaccine upon which its licensure is based”. You will also learn that vaccines safety testing is not against a true placebo, but rather another vaccine most of the time. It is eye opening. If you care to know the truth I highly recommend you read it. Simply search Informed Consent Action Network vs HHS.

  • Of Course!

  • The kicker is, antivaxxers can be prosecuted under the RCW for exposing other people to contagious diseases.

    Here’s hoping local and state prosecutors do their jobs, and charge these chuckleheads.

    RCW 70.54.050 (clicky)
    Exposing contagious disease—Penalty.
    Every person who shall willfully expose himself or herself to another, or any animal affected with any contagious or infectious disease, in any public place or thoroughfare, except upon his or her or its necessary removal in a manner not dangerous to the public health; and every person so affected who shall expose any other person thereto without his or her knowledge, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

  • *points to Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, and all the others*

  • KAugsburger

    You are just making a mountain out of a mole hill. There has been numerous studies done by the US Government, private organizations, and other government agencies. The issue isn’t a lack of research. Anti-vaxxers don’t like that the vast majority of that research has found vaccines to be safe and effective.

    The $4 billion paid out by National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program sounds like a lot until your realize that figure is over 30+ years and that the average payout is over a half a million dollars. Only about one person is compensated out every million doses of vaccines given in the US so vaccine injuries aren’t anywhere near as common as the anti-vaxxers want people to believe.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “Everyone who chooses to vaccinate or not vaccinate is making the best choice for their child. ”
    No they are not. Antivaxxers might think they are making the best choice for their child but not only are not making the best choice for their child, but they are also not making the best choice for other children and for society at large. Including those too young to be vaccinated, and those who are immunocompromised. It’s a very selfish decision. And I must say if my child caught the measles due to these idiots not vaccinating their kids I would gladly sue.

  • Graham Heron

    I’m quite fascinated with the wording the anti-vaxxers use.
    From Dr Jay Gordon ‘Measles is almost an always a benign childhood illness.’

    So – ALMOST. That means not everyone. So how many are ALMOST?
    They (anti-vaxxers) use the word and don’t even think about the meaning of what they themselves use.
    Fascinating how they do that.

  • Guest

    Actually the number sounds like a lot because it is a lot. 18,733 filed from 1988 through 2018….that includes 1,285 deaths. As most don’t even know enough to file or are told their injury couldn’t possibly be from the vaccine, the number of damaged is likely far higher. Again, read ICAN vs HHS.

  • Ardent

    I fear the only reason he is doing this is because he realizes that herd immunity has dropped low enough that his patients are now at risk of contracting measles because of his inadequate medical advice, which means he is under the very real threat of malpractice suits. As long as herd immunity was high enough, his malpractice risk was negligible.

  • Rann

    You do know you haven’t a clue about what you think you’ve “proven”. Del Bigtree is an incompetent idiot and you guys haven’t proved anything. BTW the legal standard for the NVICP is very low….. much lower than civil courts, so you screaming about the $ Billion is nothing shocking. ….. and to date in 30 years, LESS than $4 Billion has been awarded (it took less than 20 seconds to find out you are exaggerating), There are not “100s of studies that show the relationships. I Have worked with autistic youth for over FORTY years….guess what? When you actually look into documenting things with data (such as home movies/video taken before the vaccines), rather than rely on parents’ memories, it was there since BIRTH. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is inherited the vast majority of the time.

  • Rann

    …. it can also cause Congenital Rubella Syndrome…….. by having the mother get the measles during the pregnancy.

    The classic triad for congenital rubella syndrome is:
    Sensorineural deafness (58% of patients)
    Eye abnormalities—especially retinopathy, cataract, and microphthalmia (43% of patients)
    Congenital heart disease—especially pulmonary artery stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus (50% of patients)

    Other manifestations of CRS may include:
    Spleen, liver, or bone marrow problems (some of which may disappear shortly after birth)
    Intellectual disability
    Small head size (microcephaly)
    Eye defects
    Low birth weight
    Thrombocytopenic purpura
    Extramedullary hematopoiesis (presents as a characteristic blueberry muffin rash)

    Children who have been exposed to rubella in the womb should also be watched closely as they age for any indication of:
    Developmental delay
    Growth retardation
    Learning disabilities
    Diabetes mellitus

    Benign childhood disease, my ass!

  • Amy Holdin

    My mother had Rubella when she was pregnant with me. I believe she was about four months pregnant? Anyway, I was born about a week or so late at 3 lbs, 13.5 oz, had to stay in the hospital for 2.5 weeks in an incubator and had to be fed through a feeding tube. I’m 33 now and 4’9.5″ and my eyes are HORRIBLE. I basically have 20/500 vision (which can luckily be corrected with thick lenses). I’m unsure of any other complications but it’s not that fun, let me tell you. I was VERY lucky.

  • sapphiremind

    Just because I’m a stickler for factual information: Measles does *not* cause congenital rubella syndrome. Only rubella causes that. All the different viruses cause their own congenital syndrome. Congenital varicella, congenital measles (which is not associated with birth defects from a brief lit review, if only because it is very uncommon), congenital herpes, etc.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    I have an immune disorder, and the measles vaccination (among others) does not work for me. I (and others with immune disorders) DEPEND on having as many people as possible vaccinated, so that we don’t catch measles from them!

  • HematitePersuasion

    Persons this deep in denial — the AntiVax community — only get crazier as rational persons filter out of the group.

  • Shawn_Siegel

    Currently from HRSA: “Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $4.0 billion.”

  • James O’Neill

    Still not “over”, the exaggerating claim still stands, as does everything else Rann said.

  • I keep deleting Shawn’s comments…somehow he sneaks them back in

  • James O’Neill

    I see, he’s the local pest I take it.

    Great article though, makes me hope that a few more antivax health professionals will recognise that lies won’t protect their patients.

  • frostysnowman

    No one choosing not to vaccinate makes the best choice for their child. Quite the opposite.

  • Nicole Small


  • cecilia

    that’s my thought. He’s afraid of losing money.

  • Mark Mitschow

    Measles kills roughly 100,000 people every year, mostly in places where vaccines are difficult to obtain. Contrary to what Jenny McCarthy’s quack pediatrician says, I don’t believe that’s “benign.”

  • Mark Mitschow

    I am very glad this destructive quack is finally coming to his senses even if it was long after the horse bolted the barn and probably only done to protect his hide from malpractice liability……….

  • ANB2017

    Amy, were you born during the rubella outbreak of 1966-67?

  • ANB2017

    Gordon also said measles is harmless “for healthy children.” Are we culling the herd now, doctor?

  • ANB2017

    Not only that, but just because an award is ordered doesn’t mean the plaintiff was actually vaccine injured. Hundreds of millions of dollars were paid out for alleged encephalopathy and seizure disorders related to the DTP vaccine in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Then around 1994 it was discovered those conditions were caused by Dravet’s disease, a genetic disorder unrelated to vaccines. Instances of brain damage following MMR is so rare that causation cannot be distinguished from the background rate.

  • ANB2017

    Vaccine makers are not immune from liability. That is another AV lie. Allegations of injury are first heard in Vaccine Court, where attorney fees are paid win or lose. If the petitioner is not satisfied with the ruling, they can take their case to civil court, where the burden of proof is much higher and attorney fees are not covered.

    This information is freely available to any serious person who care to look.

  • Amy Holdin

    No, I was born in January of 1986. My brother had picked it up from school from someone who was unvaccinated (we were all vaccinated but it doesn’t take well in our family for some odd reason- my brother’s titers came up negative) , the doctor swore up and down it wasn’t rubella. My dad contracted it, then my mom. Doctor finally agreed it was rubella and treated it. My mom was far enough along that I was spared most of the side effects and was really lucky.

  • ANB2017

    Thanks for sharing that, Amy.

  • A classmate of mine died from Rubella in 1981. “almost an always a benign childhood illness.” is irrelevant when the ‘rare’ instances of adverse effects (such as death) can be reduced further (through vaccinations).

  • Davianna

    They won’t give pause. They will simply eat him alive, call him names, and discredit him.

  • Stephen Willis

    Uhh, isn’t rubella measles?

  • sapphiremind

    No, rubella is so-called “german measles” aka rubella. Measles is rubeola. Two different diseases. German measles or rubella almost never causes concerning illness in anyone, except developing fetuses. Measles or rubeola causes a highly infective airborne disease that has a relatively high rate of complications and death in those who get infected.

  • Christopher Hickie

    Gordon is full of anti-vax crap as usual. Note how he says “older child” which means Gordon still doesn’t recommend vaccinating younger children for MMR (which for Gordon means under 3 years of age–whereas the CDC schedule recommends vaccinating at 1 yr age. I’m sure Gordon is still making lots of money writing vaccine exemptions in California for the $700 a pop he notes on his web page.

  • ichthyic

    “and yes, autism (there are hundreds of studies showing the relationship)”

    this is an outright lie.

    bald faced, outright lie.

    there is NOT ONE study showing a relationship between vaccines and autism. NOT ONE.

    otoh, there are literally DOZENS of rigorous studies involving hundreds of thousands of people over decades showing ZERO evidence of vaccines or any ingredients IN vaccines being a source that would contribute to ANY chronic illness of any kind.

    you are a liar. flat out liar. you should not be allowed to speak in public, period.

  • ichthyic

    “And I must say if my child caught the measles due to these idiots not vaccinating their kids I would gladly sue.”

    please do. The legal framework for doing so is already there:

  • se habla espol

    Gordon’s definition is that “healthy” defines a child that isn’t injured by measles: if the youngun is injured, ot wasn’t healthy, by definition.