Actor Rob Schneider lobbies against vaccine bill
On Tuesday it was Rob Schneider of “Deuce Bigalow” fame, who was in town to warn about childhood vaccinations being forced by "government coercion."
Schneider has been lobbying against a bill (AB 2109) requiring parents to meet with a doctor before exempting their child from state vaccine requirements. Parents will still be able to get exemptions based on personal beliefs, but supporters hope the discussions help dispel myths about the dangers of vaccines.
The Legislature gave its final stamp of approval to the bill Aug. 27, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician.
"This law is flawed and we're pressing the governor to veto it," Schneider said.
Schneider is following in the footsteps of actress and model Jenny McCarthy, who popularized the much-debunked idea of a link between autism and vaccines.Catherine Martin, director of the California Immunization Coalition, said celebrity advocacy has spread misinformation into the mainstream.
“As soon as you Google ‘immunization’ and ‘side effects,’ it goes to these really scary websites,” she said. “It’s hard to convince people that what they see on the Internet isn’t correct.”
A few months ago, Pan met in the Capitol with Schneider. Brian O’Hara, a spokesman for Pan, said the conversation didn’t go well.
“It stalled out at times just because they’re really working off two different sets of data, one that comes from worldwide scientific opinion and the other that comes from a collection of celebrities,” he said.
Photo: Rob Schneider arrives at the premiere of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" in Los Angeles in 2007. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press