Facebook's founder reignited an old debate over childhood vaccinations this past week.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a photograph Friday, showing him holding his infant daughter at a doctor's office. The caption reads, “Doctor’s visit — time for vaccines!”
The picture has quickly become the cutest, most controversial photo on the Internet, with more than 3 million likes, more than 30,000 shares, and more than 80,000 comments.
But, not all of them are supportive of Zuckerberg’s choice to vaccinate.
One critic writes, “Vaccine is poison for human kind. It kills more people than it helps. I wish people don't take it as an example here."
Advocacy groups, like the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition, hope parents will follow Zuckerberg's lead and get their children vaccinated.
“I saw the picture and was so excited and pleased to see such an adorable photograph of someone who is so influential and innovative, and one of the most successful people in the world,” said Stephanie Wasserman, Executive Director of the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition.
Wasserman said celebrities have taken up both sides of the vaccination debate.
It started with a study in the late 90s — that has since been retracted — that claimed to find a link between vaccines and autism. But even though the data didn't add up, the idea struck a chord with parents. As recently as last year, a measles outbreak at Disneyland was connected to unvaccinated kids.
Wasserman said the value of a vaccine is not just for one child, but for entire communities. It’s an idea known as "herd immunity."
“If we let that herd immunity level go down, we are all at risk,” said Wasserman.
Zuckerberg lives in California, which passed a law last year stopping parents from citing ‘personal belief’ as a reason for skipping school vaccinations. It’s one of the toughest of its kind across the country.