Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to have made clear where he stands on the issue of childhood vaccines.
The billionaire posted a photo on his Facebook page of him holding baby daughter Maxima and captioned, "Doctor's visit - time for vaccines!" The photo has gone viral with more than three million likes.
The post rekindled a debate in the United States about whether childhood vaccines are potentially dangerous.
Many so-called “anti-vaxxers” commented on the photo.
“Injecting newborns and infants with disease and neurotoxins is disgusting science that injures millions every year,” wrote one person. “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.”
The anti-vaxxer movement was likely started with a 1998 scientific paper that suggested a correlation between vaccines and autism. The article, which was published in the respected journal The Lancet has since been retracted under allegations that the data was falsified.
Many doctors say vaccines are the best way to stop the spread of diseases like the flu, polio and the measles.
Most of the tens of thousands of comments on Zuckerberg’s picture were supportive.
“Thank you for being a smart person and doing what's best for your child and the community. #saveallthebabies,” another person said.
The most liked comment, with nearly 40,000, said, “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.”