Introduction –Vaccines and Vitriol
Couples have babies, whether adopted or birthed, and raise children. Th at’s not typically national news, unless of
course you are Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. Zuckerberg, who is chairman, CEO, and co-founder of
Facebook, has over 90 million followers and his every personal and professional move is discussed by national media
and followers alike. In 2016, when Mark announced that baby Max was ready for her fi rst vaccine series, the web
exploded with thoughts, advice, and critiques of the action including over 70,000 comments, many by anti-vaccine
proponents including the quotes below (
1. Injecting newborns and infants with disease and neurotoxins is disgusting science that injures millions every year. …
Shame on all of you and your souls.
2. Poor baby…. Forget those natural immunities we got the good stuff right here in this syringe.
3. I am sorry to see you unnecessarily putting your kid at risk by responding to faux science and propaganda.
Who knew that a routine childhood experience would raise such ire? And where do critics of vaccines get information
regarding vaccine public health value or toxicity? Are these opponents immunologists, medical experts, or microbiologists?
Have they read the scientifi c literature or carried out experiments to demonstrate a link between vaccine administration
and adverse events such as death, neurological impairment, and physical disability? Or are their opinions
shaped and formulated through social media, personal experience, and cultural bias? If it’s any of the explanations
provided in the previous sentence, then their opinions are unwarranted and most likely grounded in pseudoscience.
Th ese individuals have failed to apply the scientifi c method (or accessed information derived from its application)—in
particular, testing hypotheses to provide empirical support for their conclusions. When searching the web for information
and guidance regarding personal health issues, it is important to remember that you can’t always believe what
you read. Rather, it is imperative that you evaluate statements/posts/blogs critically to determine if the information is
based upon research using the scientifi c method.