Darla Shine joins anti-vaccination campaigners, increases threat of measles outbreak in US

The wife of White House Communications Chief Bill Shine, Darla Shine, has recently joined anti-vaccination campaigners by claiming that having measles as a child could protect against cancer in later life. The United States, as well as several European nations, are currently facing measles outbreaks as a result of inadequate vaccine coverage of the children.

Person being vaccinatedAndrey_Popov | Shutterstock

This year, the World Health Organization listed anti-vaccine campaigners as a threat to global health and a major contributor to the rise in cases of infectious diseases that had previously been eliminated by vaccination.

In their report, the WHO states Vaccine hesitancy — the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines — threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease—it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved... Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally.”

Earlier this week, Mrs. Shine tweeted a response to a CNN report on the measles outbreak in the US and the possible role of anti-vaccine campaigners in facilitating the spread of the disease. In her tweet, Mrs. Shine said Here we go LOL #measlesoutbreak on CNN #fake #hysteria. The entire Baby Boom population alive today had the #Measles as kids. Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases they keep you healthy & fighting cancer.”

Ms Shine used to work as TV producer and says that she and all the kids she knew got measles, mumps and chicken pox. “Sadly my kids had #MMR so they will never have the life-long natural immunity I have. Come breathe on me!” she added.

101 cases of measles* have now been reported across 10 states of the US and the numbers are on the rise. Measles, Mumps and Rubella are preventable viral infections for which the MMR vaccine is recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Measles is a highly contagious infection that can lead to unpleasant and sometimes very serious consequences say experts. It causes high fever, flu like symptoms, rash etc. According to the World Health Organisation more than 100,000 people have succumbed to measles and its complications in the 2017.

The majority of reported cases are patients who have not been vaccinated against measles, according to the CDC. The CDC adds that more than 70,000 cases of measles have been prevented in the US between 1994 and 2013 due to wide vaccination coverage. In 2000, the US was declared a measles-free country.

It is thought that the lack of vaccination was due to an infamous report which claimed that the MMR vaccine was linked to cases of autism, which has since been disproved. Furthermore, the CDC emphasizes that there is no scientific connection between vaccination and autism.

According to the CDC, there are also no studies or research that shows that getting measles may help to fight cancer. Shine refused to back down with her “anti-cancer” claim though. She said, “I had the measles, that was the whole point of my tweet. I have life time natural immunity,” in a tweet.

Mrs. Shine accused left-winged parties trying to bring her down. She tweeted, “Was waiting for the #Left to come after me. As soon as I retweet a fact about #Vaccines they come after me. Bring it on! #TheSmear #Slander #Libel #Liars #FakeNews #VAXXED #Hoax #Democrats #BigPharma”.

Shine has a history of making comments on health issues that have no basis. She previously stated that sunscreen protection against skin cancer is a “hoax” and has also spoken before about the danger of vaccines. Darla Shine has a blog page called happyhousewives.com where she provides tips and advice on cooking, parenting, marriage, fashion and beauty.

*Numbers accurate up to the 7th February 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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