A photo of Mark Zuckerberg and his baby daughter that the Facebook founder and CEO posted on his page Friday has gone viral and spurred another online debate about vaccines.
The photo, of Maxima Zuckerberg and her famous dad is captioned “Doctor’s visit – time for vaccines!” and seemingly was taken at a pediatrician’s office.
Some of the comments on the post are from so-called anti-vaxxers, people who are vocally opposed to vaccinating their children out of fear that the injections may cause neurological disorders.
“Injecting newborns and infants with disease and neurotoxins is disgusting science that injures millions every year,” one commenter wrote. “Autism, encephalitis, brain damage, auto immune [stet] disorders early onset & late, asthma, allergies, add/ADHD [stet], bipolar disorder, SPD, pandas, Tourette's... All of these neuro disease in the past 35 years. Do you [stet] homework. The only thing these children have in common is the VACCINE SCHEDULE! That's it. Period.”
Another commenter wrote, “I am sorry to see you unnecessarily putting your kid at risk by responding to faux science and propaganda.”
Fears that vaccines cause injury to children with healthy immune systems may stem from a since-retracted study published in 1998 in The Lancet that suggested a link between vaccines and autism. The lead author of that study, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, reportedly altered the medical histories of his study participants to falsify data, and Wakefield has since been stripped of his medical license in Britain.
Most scientists agree that vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread of infectious, life-threatening viruses like influenza, polio and measles.
The majority of comments on Zuckerberg’s post appear to be pro-vaccine.
“Thank you for being a smart person and doing what's best for your child and the community. #saveallthebabies,” one commenter wrote.
The top comment, which has received nearly 38,000 likes, reads: “ As someone with autism, with a son with autism, as someone who is constantly watching good people put their own children at serious risk because of old, fraudulent fears of vaccines and autism... thank you for being sensible. Thank you for doing what's right and also for showing everyone else that it's the right thing to do as well.”
As of Monday morning, Zuckerberg’s post had garnered more than 3.1 million likes and nearly 70,000 comments and counting.