Green Our Vaccines: science, slogan or smoke screen?

5 May

In June, 2008, Jenny McCarthy of Generation Rescue led the “Green Our Vaccines” rally in Washington. The stated reason for the rally was to “Demand Congress take action to Green Our Vaccine Supply while reassessing our current vaccine schedule.”

They weren’t anti-vaccine, they were anti-toxin.

How sincere was this movement?

Consider this question and answer from Jenny McCarthy’s interview for Frontline:

Tell me about “Green Our Vaccines” and what you want to happen.

I don’t think there is a green vaccine. The purpose in our statement of Green Our Vaccines really is: Let’s take a look at our environment. Let’s take a look at some of these toxic ingredients and pull them out. Let’s take a look at a safer schedule. I mean, our motto was “Too many, too soon” with the Green Our Vaccines march. And like I said, it’s not like I’m looking for a Whole Foods version of a shot. We’re looking for just a smarter and safer one in that title of Green Our Vaccines.

Repeated for emphasis–“I don’t think there is a green vaccine”. Sort of vague there. Is she saying there can be no green vaccine? That’s how I read it at first. Considering that Jenny McCarthy considers the active parts of vaccines (bacteria and viruses) to be “toxic” ingredients, I’m not sure if she can believe in a green vaccine.

So, was it really about “too many too soon”, the vaccine schedule? No. It’s still mercury. Consider Generation Rescue’s mission statement from their tax form (dated 2009-11-16). (click to enlarge)

Mission Statement for Generation Rescue

My own rough transcription:

Generation Rescue, inc. has a four point mission. Gather information that exists about mercury toxicity and publicize the truth so parents can make the best decision to help their children heal. 2. Organize doctors to treat the millions of affected children through education and conference sponsorship. Sponsor research to further the understanding between mercury and neurodevelopmental and other health disorders and to help organize the cure for mercury poisoning. 4. Support legislation to ban the use of thimerosal in medicine on a worldwide basis.

The mission statement has nothing about “green vaccines” or “too many too soon” or any of the talking points. Just mercury.

Why bring this up? Is anyone surprised that “Green Our Vaccines” and “Too Many Too Soon” are just slogans?

Well, it is worth bringing up from time to time. Generation Rescue would like you to believe that there has been a big fail by the public health establishment. They would like you to believe that the government has been avoiding looking at “the schedule” and has only looked at “one vaccine and one ingredient”.

Well, one ingredient is exactly what Generation Rescue’s mission is all about.

As long as the tax form is available, take a look. Jenny McCarthy seems to be good for generating new revenue. GR brought in $1,185,255 in 2008. Pretty respectable. That’s up from $424,698 the year before.

Generation Rescue’s expenses went up to. They spent $229,213 fund raising alone. This was part of total expenses totaling $745,238.

Let’s break that down a bit. Of the total expenses, $220,654 went to “MARKETING &AWARENESS COSTS”. Let’s consider that to be part of GR’s mission, spreading the word.

What does that leave? Expenses of $524,584. Or, about 44% of the donations.

Another way to look at it: if you donate a dollar to Generation Rescue, 44 cents goes to overhead.

Of course, one could compare Generation Rescue to Autism Speaks, who takes in $66,000,000 in order to put out $27,000,000 in grants–or about 41 cents on the dollar goes to the mission. Autism Speaks has about $14,000,000 in fund raising expenses and about $18,000,000 in salaries.

Ah, but I am getting off topic.

Generation Rescue has a single mission. The same mission they’ve always had. They appear to expanding to “too many too soon” but, in reality, it is just about mercury.

10 Responses to “Green Our Vaccines: science, slogan or smoke screen?”

  1. David N. Brown May 6, 2010 at 03:46 #

    “in reality, it is just about mercury”
    Why say even that? There’s no mercury in MMR, but they attack that. What it’s eally about is reinforcing phobias about vaccines.

  2. Morgan May 6, 2010 at 04:55 #

    in reality, it is just about the money.

    DAN! doctors & vaccine lawyers: it is only about scaring people enough to shake loose a few more dollars.

  3. David N. Brown May 6, 2010 at 07:47 #

    I respectfully disagree. It’s long been my observation that financial gain is of surprisingly little value in explaining fraud. The usual common denominator is people who appear to believe sincerely in what they seek to “prove”, and may invest or risk far more than they have to gain. For these individuals, fanaticism rather than greed is the most probable motive.

  4. Joseph May 6, 2010 at 14:36 #

    The GR tax form might not have been updated in years, right?

    The anti-vaccine movement is clearly not interested in safer vaccines. GR hasn’t spent one dollar researching vaccine manufacturing, and how it might be improved.

    The people who work on improving the safety of vaccines are not anti-vaccine. They are simply not political organizations like GR.

    What is the anti-vaxer’s goal? I think it can be summed up as follows: “Convince the world that my kid is autistic because of vaccines and vaccines only.” Other objectives, like producing scientific research that supports their views, are just means to an end.

    In other words, they are not scientifically minded. They are not interested in finding out what is. They are interested in transmitting their beliefs to other people.

    Sure, there are quacks and lawyers who make a living out of this stuff, but they are marginal players.

    • Sullivan May 6, 2010 at 18:11 #


      I’d agree with the idea that GR probably isn’t updating that part of the tax form. They probably see it as just a placeholder and secondary to the financial information.

      Probably more telling is just the fact that “Green our Vaccines” has basically died as a slogan.


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