Jessica Biel Reveals Vaccinations Stance: Social Media Reacts
By Antoinette Bueno
Jessica Biel is getting plenty of reaction after lobbying against a California vaccine bill.
The 37-year-old actress recently joined environmental activist and vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the California State House in Sacramento to speak out against a proposed bill that would limit medical exemptions from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer. After Kennedy posted photos on Instagram of their visit on Wednesday -- creating a lot of online furor -- Biel took to Instagram on Thursday morning to clarify that she wasn't anti-vaccine.
"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," she wrote alongside a picture of herself in front of the California State House. "My concern with #SB276 is 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. 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."
Not surprisingly, plenty of people had reactions to Biel taking a stand against Senate Bill 276.
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton commented on her Instagram post, "Every day I am more and more thankful for my son’s school! Vaccinations are MANDATORY there. If you choose not to vaccinate your kids, they can’t go there!"
One top comment on the Instagram post -- which garnered more than 3,000 likes -- reads, "If a child isn’t vaccinated, they shouldn’t be allowed into the schooling system. If you want parents to have the right to choose, that’s fine, but those same kids shouldn’t have the right to put others in danger because of their parents' idiocy."
On Twitter, Biel received more shade:
The problem with Jessica Biel coming out as an anti-vaxxer is not that she’s not a doctor, it’s that she’s not even qualified to play a doctor on TV
Sorry, @JessicaBiel may have the right to freedom of speech, but freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences due to exercising that right. If she's going to advocate antivax views that endanger our children, she should expect pushback, especially as a celebrity. https://t.co/RRPXVEXY3A
But not everyone has been critical of Biel. California Assemblyman Tom Lackey tweeted a picture with the Sinner star, writing "@JessicaBiel came by the State Capitol yesterday to chat about parental rights. I was impressed by her sincerity."
"#SB276 is not about #vaccines but the right to privacy and to choose," another Twitter user wrote. "For those who think drs are writing fake exemptions please reply with citations. Thank you @JessicaBiel for your fight in freedom."
Some Twitter users criticized the amount of online criticism Biel has been receiving.
"Jessica Biel is getting bashed, hated & 'cancelled' because she doesn’t believe in vaccinations... This toxic outrage behavior shouldn’t be acceptable," another user wrote. "It’s disgusting. It’s okay to have different beliefs. Repeat. ITS. OKAY. TO. HAVE. DIFFERENT. BELIEFS."
Jessica Biel is getting bashed, hated & “cancelled” because she doesn’t believe in vaccinations...
This toxic outrage behavior shouldn’t be acceptable. It’s disgusting.
The topic of vaccines continues to be an intense topic of conversation. Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 750 people have been diagnosed with measles in the United States this year, the most cases nationwide in more than 20 years. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but vaccination rates began to drop as fears of vaccines spread.
ET spoke to Kristen Bell in 2015, when she explained her own stance on vaccinations after welcoming her two daughters with husband Dax Shepard, 6-year-old Lincoln and 4-year-old Delta.
"I thought, oh well, I'm probably not going to vaccinate because we don’t need it, those diseases don’t exist," Bell told ET of her previous thinking. "In the research I did, I found that there is actually a really big reason why we all need to. Which shocked me."
Bell told ET that she now recognizes that the decision to vaccinate affects the general population.
"I think it's really important to acknowledge that we have something called the herd immunity, where there are people that cannot get immunizations because of autoimmune diseases or cancer treatments," she explained. "If we don’t get the vaccinations to keep them safe, then they're screwed."
Other stars who have made their pro-vaccine stance known include Olivia Wilde, who tweeted in 2014 about her now 5-year-old son, Otis, with fiance Jason Sudeikis.
"Otis had his shots and handled it like a boss," she wrote. "So grateful to have access to vaccines that protect him and others. #DontHateVaccinate."
Otis had his shots and handled it like a boss. So grateful to have access to vaccines that protect him and others. #DontHateVaccinate
Biel shares a 4-year-old son, Silas, with her husband, Justin Timberlake. Last October, the 38-year-old singer revealed their personal love story in his book, Hindsight & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me.