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Celebrities that love/hate shots... for vaccinations

A rash of measles has broken out in a few states across the country, sparking alarm from health officials and parents with susceptible children. In January, 102 cases of measles were documented in the U.S. To put that in perspective, that's more documented cases found in the first month of 2015 than the average amount for most full years since 2000, according to CNBC.

If you live on the east coast, you may have less to fear. The outbreak was linked to Disneyland in California where 90 of the cases were found. Whereas many other states enjoy a high rate of vaccination, California allows parents to exempt their children from the shots before kindergarten if they claim the vaccination conflicts with their religious or philosophical beliefs. 

The controversy has ignited a heated debate about whether parents should have the choice to vaccinate their children, what it could mean for other children's safety and how small pockets of misinformation can have a large and deadly impact.

Celebrities weigh in on the issue
Not surprisingly, vaccine advocates and opponents have emerged to battle out the points via social media and the press. Here are just a few big names involved in the argument and what they have to say.

Model and TV host Jenny McCarthy has been branded as one of the biggest opponents of vaccines in recent years, yet the Washington Post noted that her stance has shifted from time to time. She does, however, entertain the belief that there's connection between autism and vaccinations - an accusation that has been proven false by doctors.

Potential presidential nominee Chris Christie jumped into the debate recently, saying that parents should be allowed to choose whether their children are vaccinated or not. 

The governor declared that he and his wife had their children vaccinated, but conceded that the decision should not be a mandatory one made by the government.

"I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that's the balance that the government has to decide," he said, according to Fox News.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and multiple Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, suggested that vaccine opponents willingly ignore facts by neglecting studies - namely a meta analysis of 1.2 million children this past December - that prove there is no link between vaccines and autism.

Yet, celebrities like Alicia Silverstone continue to spread anti-vaccination propaganda. Silverstone wrote in her 2014 book "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning" that anecdotal evidence - gathered from parents making distressed phone calls to doctors - may show a connection between vaccines and autism, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

What do you think?
Celebrity feedback aside, a recent Opinion Outpost poll showed an equally divisive stance on vaccines among survey takers. Roughly 1,500 individuals were asked whether the government should mandate vaccinations or whether parents should have a choice in the matter.

  • 44 percent responded that parents should be allowed to decide.
  • 56 percent stated that vaccinations should be mandatory.

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