Facebook Founder Shares Daughter’s Vaccination, Sparks More Commentary
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in the news again this week, but it has nothing to do with Oculus Rift virtual reality headset or the global networking project known simply as Internet.org. No, today, Zuckerberg is making headlines for something a little more relatable, if not controversial: childhood vaccinations.
On Friday, the Facebook chief executive shared pictures in which he is holding his daughter—Max—at a visit with her doctor. The photo caption read: “Doctor’s visit—time for vaccines!”
It has been just a month since Zuckerberg and wife—Priscilla Chan—announced the birth of their child so the vaccination is right on schedule. But the timing of this event, of course, does not just coincide to an important stage in Max’s life; it also coincides with one of the most hotly-debated health topics in recent history.
Vaccination, of course, is one of the most practical and important medical advances in the past century or so. It has helped us to all but eradicate many of the deadliest childhood diseases human kind has ever known. Polio, Mumps, Rubella, Measles, and, of course, Influenza have been largely controlled (and mostly absent) from the modern world for many years, thanks to vaccines.
But while it makes sense to vaccinate children, many continue to argue that vaccines cause more harm than they prevent. This is certainly an easy stance to take in light of the recent rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is quite clear, right now, that our abuse of antibiotics has resulted in this public health threat; so the correlation with vaccines warrants, at least, some consideration.
Of course, the big issue remains that while the health threat is definitely a public one, the choice to vaccinate your children is a private one. Then again, anything you post to Facebook instantly becomes a very public affair; and for someone as influential Zuckerberg to post his decision, it is no surprise that it has erupted in uproar.
Zuckerberg—who is actively followed by 48 million users—was likely prepared for this. In February, he endorsed a book “On Immunity” that explored the current vaccination debate in the United States. He also posted, on Facebook, of course, “Vaccination is an important and timely topic. The science is completely clear; vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community.”
Both supporters and detractors took to the web to voice their opinion, thanks, concern, and opposition. And there, on the founders’ page, the debate rages on.