Sarah Michelle Gellar, Pertussis Slayer

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 27 2013 8:00 AM

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Pertussis Slayer

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar, the face of the "Sounds of Pertussis" campaign. Click to enstakenate.

Photo by Sounds of Pertussis

It’s pretty easy to make fun of some celebrities who endorse nonsense. The queen of these is Jenny McCarthy, who seemingly without irony talks about how dangerous vaccines are while simultaneously injecting the most dangerously toxic protein known to science into her face.

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Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

But we humans do tend to listen to celebrities, and so I’m actually very happy when one endorses reality. Actor Sarah Michelle Gellar— best known to BABloggeees, no doubt, from “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”—has partnered with the March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasterus (the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer) in “Sounds of Pertussis”, a campaign for adults to get their TDaP (tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) booster shot.

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They put together this video to promote the campaign:

Nicely done. They have a Facebook page where you can find their “Breathing Room” discussed in the video.

This campaign is a pretty good idea. I just wrote about the need for vaccinations, as well as for the TDaP booster— which I myself got recently. I talked about people traveling abroad bringing diseases back with them, but I should have also mentioned that many times, unvaccinated friends and family of parents with newborns are the vector for the disease. If more people got their boosters, this terrible circumstance would dwindle.

This blog reaches a lot of folks, and I’m grateful for the chance to make the world a healthier place, and a safer one for infants. But Ms. Gellar’s reach is significantly larger, and I hope this campaign goes far and wide.

Pertussis kills. So can measles, and lots of other diseases. Many of these illnesses can be wiped out by vaccination. We’ve done it before, but we keep getting recurrences and outbreaks because too many people refuse to vaccinate. Herd immunity is our best safeguard against these potentially fatal diseases, and that relies on enough people getting vaccinated.

On the Sounds of Pertussis page they have stories from parents whose children caught pertussis. Two of the stories turn out well, and one…well, I had a very difficult time watching Natalie Norton’s video all the way through. I can’t imagine the horror of watching your own baby suffer from such a devastating illness, let alone watching him die.

Talk to your board-certified doctor. And go to the Sounds of Pertussis page, as well as the other pages I have linked here. Vaccinations are one of the greatest medical successes in human history. But they are useless if we don’t implement them.

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