Usually when we talk about celebrities and vaccines it’s not in the most positive light. The recent past has been filled with a list of celebrities and media personalities who have stood behind the bad science and misinformation spread by the Andrew Wakefield’s of the world and have caused many people to doubt the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Then there is a glimmer of hope as people like Amanda Peet have thrown their hat in the ring in support of vaccinations by partnering with the United Nation’s Shot@Life campaign to help educate the world about the importance of protecting ourselves, our families, and our communities through immunizations. And as of this past Sunday evening there is another celebrity who has made a stand for vaccines. She may not have meant to make her voice heard, but Kim Kardashian, thanks for the support!
So first of all, yes, I watch “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” It’s my guilty pleasure. Second, on Sunday night’s episode, the whole Kardashian clan received their Tdap vaccine to protect the newest member of the family from Pertussis (or Whooping Cough). While some were hesitant, the doctor administering the vaccine explained the importance of vaccination. This highly contagious illness can have devastating consequences, especially for infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. Whooping cough is typically spread by coughing or sneezing and many babies who are infected contract the illness from a parent, older sibling, or other caregiver. Some people may not even know that they are spreading this potentially life threatening illness. That is why it is so crucial that families and caregivers make sure they are protected and essentially “cocoon” (or protect the unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated child) against this vaccine-preventable disease. My favorite part of this whole scene was when one of the Kardashian sisters said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to get the shot and the doctor alluded to the fact that Kim would not let people who were unvaccinated around her new baby. My husband and I took this same stance last year as we were preparing to welcome our third baby. No shot…no baby.
Love them or hate them, the Kardashian’s are known for drawing attention and setting trends. They play a huge role in social media, fashion, gossip columns, and television. I have said it before and let me say it again: no one should base their medical decisions on the thoughts or beliefs of anyone other than a trained medical professional. But the truth is, many people do listen to what celebrities have to say. The power of persuasion that celebrities hold, right or wrong, is nothing to take lightly and I for one am happy to see vaccines portrayed in a positive light in the media for a change! Let’s hope that vaccinating to protect those you love becomes the new norm in Hollywood and across the globe!