Jessica Biel Says She's 'Not Against Vaccinations' After Lobbying with Anti-Vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Jessica Biel is clarifying her stance on vaccinations.
In a Thursday Instagram post, the 37-year-old actress responded to news that she had lobbied with known anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. against a California state pro-vaccine bill.
“This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill,” Biel wrote on Instagram. “I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians.”
Biel then went on to explain that her “concern” regarding the bill was “solely regarding medical exemptions.”
“My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state,” she wrote. “That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment.”
On Tuesday, Kennedy Jr., 65, shared a slideshow of photos of himself and Biel posing alongside activists and legislators.
“Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House,” Kennedy Jr. wrote of the actress, who is married to singer Justin Timberlake, 38. The couple share 4-year-old son Silas Randall.
Biel and Kennedy Jr. joined forces to lobby against SB 276, a California state bill that would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer.
SB 276 would require the State Department of Public Health to develop a statewide standardized medical exemption request form made available for use by licensed physicians and surgeons.
The bill would require “the State Public Health Officer or the public health’s officer’s designee to approve or deny a medical exemption request, upon determining that the request provides sufficient medical evidence that the immunization is contraindicated or that a specific precaution regarding a particular immunization exists, based on guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
When asked to describe Biel’s involvement, Kennedy Jr. explained to The Daily Beast the actress is “for safe vaccines and for medical freedom.”
He told the outlet that his and Biel’s issue with the bill “is that a doctor who has made a determination — if he has found children in this state whose doctors have determined that they’re too fragile to receive vaccinations — this bill would overrule the doctors and force them to be vaccinated anyways.” (Children would not be immediately forced to get the vaccine — the bill would require a second exemption from the Department of Health to bypass vaccination).
In 2015, a source told InTouch Weekly that Biel “feels that vaccination could cause complications.” However, she had never publicly stated her position on vaccinating children against diseases until Thursday’s post.
Multiple large studies have confirmed that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism, but anti-vaxxers and religious groups have rallied against vaccines as misinformation spreads online. Over the last year, there has been a 30 percent increase in measles cases worldwide and deadly outbreaks in areas with large amounts of unvaccinated children. In the U.S., the number of measles cases in 2019 is now up to 1,022, as of June 6, the most in over 25 years. Though measles was considered eradicated in 2000 with the advent of the measles vaccine, the U.S. may lose that status if the outbreak continues.