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Did Zuckerberg mean to wade into that controversy?

The controversy: vaccine.

Whether Mark Zuckerberg knew that this topic was a controversial topic that would make a lot of ink flow or not, only he knows.  What is sure, however, is that in February last year, long before the birth of his daughter Max, Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook wall:

“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.”

The book he was referring to was On Immunity by Eula Bliss.

For the anti-vaccine advocates, his post yesterday – “doctor’s visit – time for vaccines!” – was another way of showing his support for vaccinations.  For them, the founder and CEO of Facebook has done nothing more than behave in an unreasonable manner.

“I’m sorry to see you unnecessarily putting your kid at risk by responding to faux science and propaganda,” one commenter wrote in response to his post.

Even though scientists have shown the tremendous role of vaccinations in eradicating diseases like smallpox, anti-vaccine campaigners, among whom presidential candidate Donald Trump, do not relent.

The controversy started in 1998 when the researcher Andrew Wakefield published a paper in which he linked vaccines, especially the MMRS (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine with autism.  Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey took up the cause and cases of measles shop up.  In the UK, where Andrew Wakefield was working as a surgeon, cases of measles rose up from 56 at the time of the research in 1998 to 1,400 in 2008.  A 13-year-old died in England of the disease, the first person to do so in more than a decade.

Even though the research was later on proved to be fraudulent – the former surgeon was found to have been paid £435,000 by parents suing vaccine companies – anti-vaccine campaigners had been born.  Despite not being as vocal as they used to be, they are still around and they came out in force yesterday.

So perhaps Zuckerberg did mean to wade in that debate after all.  With his 48 million followers, Mark Zuckerberg is a thought leader and he knows it.  The picture he posted of his daughter’s visit to the doctor was shared some 31,000 times and commented on 70,000 times.

This is also not a debate from which Zuckerberg and his wife are strangers to.  The magazine Wired reported a year ago that Silicon Valley has a below-average vaccination rates.

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  • Richard Lockwood

    It’s not a controversy. No reputable scientist or medical doctor thinks vaccines are harmful. A handful of shouty idiots with vested interests in selling supplements, fake autism treatments or books say they are.

    • guest

      Typical troll response.

  • guest

    You are such a poorly informed individual. You have no clue as to what occurred with Dr. Wakefield or vaccines in general.

    “scientists have shown the tremendous role of vaccinations in eradicating diseases”
    Please provide the following:
    -An Independent double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and
    effectiveness of vaccines.
    -Provide Independent scientific evidence on ANY study which can confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
    -Provide Independent scientific evidence which can prove that disease reduction in any part of the world, at any point in history was attributable to inoculation of populations.
    -Provide Independent scientific justification on how bypassing the respiratory tract (or mucous membrane) is advantageous and how directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream enhances immune functioning and prevents future infections.
    -Provide Independent scientific justification on how a vaccine would prevent viruses from

    Would it interest you to know that the world foremost expert in immunology has stated this:
    “No one would accuse Yehuda Shoenfeld of being a quack. The Israeli clinician has spent more than three decades studying the human immune system and is at the pinnacle of his profession. You might say he is more foundation than fringe in his specialty; he wrote the textbooks…….
    But something strange is happening in the world of immunology lately and a small evidence of it is that the Godfather of Autoimmunology is pointing to vaccines– specifically, some of their ingredients including the toxic metal aluminum – as a significant contributor to the growing global epidemic of autoimmune diseases. The bigger evidence is a huge body of research that’s poured in in the past 15 years, and particularly in the past five years. Take for example, a recent article published in the journal Pharmacological Research in which Shoenfeld and colleagues issue unprecedented guidelines naming four categories of people who are most at risk for vaccine-induced autoimmunity.”

    The paper, which you did not name because you probably didn’t know it, was “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children”
    Volume 351, Number 9103 28 February 1998 A J Wakefield, S H Murch, A Anthony, J Linnell, D M Casson, M Malik, M Berelowitz, A P Dhillon, M A Thomson, P Harvey, A Valentine, S E Davies, J A Walker-Smith

    The paper was an ‘early report’ on 12 children, with 13 multidisciplinary authors. The children’s’ medical histories were written by clinical lead, Professor Walker-Smith, NOT Dr Andrew Wakefield who collated the reports. The basis of the three year £8million GMC ‘trial’ which delivered guilty verdicts on Dr Wakefield and his two clinician co-authors Profs Walker-Smith and Murch, was an alleged ‘conspiracy’ to subject children to unnecessary invasive procedures. Journalist Brian Deer, with no scientific or medical qualifications whatsoever, was the sole complainant. Deer always claimed (loudly) the Lancet children did not have bowel disease. Of course they DID, and the clinicians were only doing their jobs diagnosing and treating their bowel disorders. *****The GMC made no attempt to attack the veracity of the Lancet paper,****** concentrating instead on ethical permissions etc. It was plain the evidence was manipulated throughout the hearing, to ensure guilty verdicts were delivered on all three doctors.

    Following the guilty verdicts, several articles by Deer appeared in the British Medical Journal. It was an Editorial by BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee, which first alleged fraud against Dr Wakefield, based on Deer’s ridiculous article, alleging Dr Wakefield altered the Lancet childrens’ medical histories. (This would have been impossible).

    Later, Godlee made a determined attempt to smear ALL of Dr Wakefield’s co-authors, accusing them all of research fraud and misconduct. Unfortunately, Godlee was forced to admit, during her evidence to the UK Government’s Science and Technology Committee, the huge pharmaceutical industries’ financial and sponsorship involvement in the BMJ and other medical and scientific journals. The politicians refused to ‘touch’ this poisoned chalice. Neither University College London, nor UKRIO, the research watchdog wanted anything to do with it either.

    Professor Walker-Smith was completely exonerated following his High Court Appeal in 2012. Judge Lord Justice Mitting took less than four days to demolish Deer’s evidence and the panel’s ‘inadequate and superficial’ handling of it. Dr Wakefield, by then effectively banished, from the UK, could not afford the multi-million dollar cost to have his license reinstated as Lord Walker-Smith so has chosen to work in the US helping Autistic children. Because he is working as a consultant with various film makers (such as Trace Amounts and others) he is serving the autistic community in a different more effective capacity without all the medical complex politics.

    Here is the courts finding:
    England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court)
    Decision Between: PROFESSOR JOHN WALKER-SMITH Appellant- and – GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL- Respondent.
    (instructed by EASTWOODS SOLICITORS) for the Appellant MISS JOANNA GLYNN QC AND MR CHRISTOPHER MELLOR (instructed by FIELD FISHER WATERHOUSE LLP) for the Respondent
    Hearing dates: 13th. 14th, 15th, 16th & 17th February 2012.

    But following the successful appeal of the paper’s senior clinical investigator – John Walker-Smith – the GMC findings that served as the basis for Lancet’s retraction have since been overturned.
    -With regard to the GMC’s false claims that the patients in the paper were not “consecutively referred”: “157. …Thus construed, this paper does not bear the meaning put upon it by the [GMC] panel. The phrase “consecutively referred” means no more than that thechildren were referred successively, rather than as a single batch, to the Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology.”
    -Similarly, the GMC’s rulings that the children in the Lancet paper weresubjects of a research project that did not gain ethical approval also proved unfounded:
    “158. …The [GMC] panel’s finding that the description of the patient population in the Lancet paper was misleading would only have been justified if its primary finding that all of the Lancet children were referred for the purposes of research as part of Project 172-96 is sustainable. Because, for the reasons which I have given, it was not, this aspect of its findings must also

    The judge found only one misleading statement in the paper, but it was not because investigations undertaken were unethical experiments described as gaining ethical approval in the paper according to the now-overturned findings on which the paper’s retraction was based. On the contrary, it was because investigations in the paper were described as being ethically approved when most were clinically indicated and required no such approval, although a few investigations were ethically approved. This may require an erratum, but it does not justify keeping the paper fully retracted. The content and veracity of the paper had never been challenged and the paper has been duplicated hundreds of times since. I have a listing of them if you’d like them.
    Read the entire adjudication at: http://www.bailii (dot) org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2012/503.html.

    You know what so sick about the Wakefield witch hunt: he was never anti-vaccine. He only began to delve into the lack of science behind them after the witch hunt against him began. The only thing he had issues with was the combo shots because they HAVE NEVER BEEN TESTED FOR SAFETY.

    Facebook Owner Mark Zuckerberg Takes Public Stand Against Vaccine Refusers:

    Did MZ mean to wade into the controversy–he jumped in with both feet.