Mark Zuckerberg, new dad, is just like all the other new parents out there: He posts stuff about his kid on Facebook.
On Friday, he shared an image of his daughter with a note that it was time for the six-week-old baby girl to get vaccinated.
The most-liked comment on the post so far is from someone who identifies himself as having autism and a son with autism, who “is constantly watching good people put their own children at risk because of old, fraudulent fears of vaccines and autism” thanking Zuckerberg for “being sensible… doing what’s right and also for showing everyone else that its the right thing to do as well.”
Zuckerberg resides in California which, last summer, passed one of the toughest vaccination laws in the United States. The law bars religious and other personal-belief exemptions from vaccination for schoolchildren; a spike in such waivers, based largely on medically unfounded opinions about the danger of vaccines, contributed to a massive outbreak of the measles that began in Disneyland in ultimately infected 150 people.
This is Zuckerberg’s second effort, small though it may be, to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinating children. Last February, as part of his “Year of Books,” he picked On Immunity by Eula Biss. He wrote of his selection at the time:
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. This book explores the reasons why some people question vaccines, and then logically explains why the doubts are unfounded and vaccines are in fact effective and safe. This book was recommended to me by scientists and friends who work in public health… I encourage you to check it out and to join the discussion.
As a tremendously influential public figure — not to mention the guy who started a website that has likely seen more than it’s share of anti-vaxxer posts — Zuckerberg can reach his nearly 50 million followers with a single post. Individuals who don’t believe vaccines are safe are notoriously averse to changing that view. Scientific evidence, pleas from doctors, and information from government officials: Pretty ineffective, all. Measles used to send about 48,000 Americans to the hospital each year — that is, before the development of the MMR vaccine. But a significant number of parents who grew up after measles had largely vanished due to said vaccine are unaware of the dangers of the disease.