Steve Burton has responded to the news that he has been fired from General Hospital after he decided not to get a vaccination against measles.
“I’ve decided to live as healthy as possible with the knowledge that in the world we live in, anyone, no matter who they are, can be a victim of something as simple as catching a cold or a bad bug,” he wrote on Twitter. “It has been a great experience, but all good things must come to an end.
“I’d like to thank my fans for all their amazing outpouring of support and messages of love over the last few days,” he said. “As much as I’d like to stay and continue working with the people that I’ve grown to love, I don’t want to put them in any kind of danger. I won’t be returning to General Hospital.”
Steve Burton has been fired for not getting his vaccination. Photograph: Patrick Harbron/ABC via Getty Images
Burton said on Twitter that he decided not to get vaccinated because he didn’t trust the industry to protect him. “I also felt this was a move that I needed to make given the way society has shifted in terms of the acceptance of vaccination for children and more generally for people’s lifestyle choices.”
He continued: “I just simply didn’t believe in it anymore. To be clear, I still believe in vaccinations, period. My point was that vaccinations are one more example of governments/industry not listening to anyone.”
Burton’s character, Jason Morgan, had a key role in helping uncover the PCO group’s data breach. The attacks targeted the network of Dillon Quartermaine, which happened to be the soap’s largest sponsor. Before that, Quartermaine and his PCO group had been working with Jax in exposing General Hospital’s offshore account network.
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Previously, Burton told Zap2it that the person who had chosen to have the disease had probably shown an underlying prejudice. “I said to my TV husband that we had to put it out there. He wanted to throw a fit that we were even bringing it up.
“He did get vaccinated because that kid came and specifically asked me. And he’s like, ‘I hate medical science.’ And I said, ‘If you do that, I can’t go back. If you can’t trust them to make you feel safe with one less vaccination, then you’re opening yourself up to infection and you’re never going to have a family.’”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first declared measles to be “eliminated” from the US by 2000, but sporadic outbreaks of the disease are still thought to be in existence. There were 128 cases reported across the US last year, but just 25 in the most recent three months, including nine in California.
Burton’s departure from General Hospital is being described as “amicable”, though the network has said the actor’s opinion of vaccines was “tarnished” after the child he contracted measles was not vaccinated.