Mark Zuckerberg drew the ire of conspiracy theorists on Saturday after the Facebook chief posted a picture of his daughter, Max, noting: “Doctor's visit — time for vaccines!” The image became the hub for a debate on the merits of childhood vaccinations and herd immunity, with some parents peddling a discredited line that vaccinations cause autism.
Although most of the 20,000 comments praised the billionaire for his responsible parenting, some “anti-vaxxers” accused the Facebook founder of unnecessarily risking his baby’s health. The anti-vaxx movement challenges the value of childhood immunisations, contesting that ingredients in vaccines are harmful, despite several studies refuting that charge.
The paranoia has reached such a level in some US communities that herd immunity has been compromised through low vaccination rates, leading to outbreaks of diseases such as measles.
One "anti-vaxx" commenter wrote: “Growing up, my mom’s best friend had a perfectly healthy daughter. She received MMR and had a grand mal seizure and suffered brain damage. Her doctor diagnosed her with vaccine injury. She was left unable to talk or walk for the rest of her life. So that was MY first personal experience with vaccines.”
Another penned: “Herd immunity is a myth … Vaccines are largely ineffective and even if they don’t result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder, as they did for 9 year old Hannah Poling: they are extremely unhealthy and filled with toxic levels of aluminum, human DNA (there are no studies about how our bodies react to foreign DNA)!”
“I’m so thankful to have a healthy child, who has a naturally strong immune system that functions the way God created it to,” the poster added.
“Pharmaceutical companies make HUGE profits off of a sick society,” scoffed another commenter. “These same companies make vaccines to keep you healthy! Lol. Use your head people… Every goddamn childhood illness has become an epidemic.”
“Thermerisol, mercury, squaline, chicken embryos, and a list of other dangerous nuerotoxins are so good for babies,” bemoaned another. “Any of you ever read the inserts on vaccines? The ingredients? I didn’t think so.”
One poster even said Zuckerberg was being paid for the picture:"I bet he just lined his pockets from big pharma to publicly post this for millions to see pushing vaccines that ‘wow, the famous Mark Zuckerberg vaccinated his baby so you should to!’ and I don't believe it, just because he made a public statement doesn't make it real."
Many, however, posted messages mocking the "anti-vaxx" crowd. “What kind of parent are you? Putting life saving chemicals in that baby! You'd think you loved her or something. Nonsense! Her natural baby tolerance and resistance is all she needs to fight crippling polio and life ravaging tuberculosis!” read one ironic post.