by Angela Sams
Many of us likely saw or at least heard about the picture that Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, posted on the social media site recently. Though perhaps it appeared innocent on the surface, the photo of his two-month-old daughter getting vaccinated surely ruffled some feathers amongst the anti-vaccination community. A recent Time article discusses the fact that this isn’t the first public statement that Zuckerberg has made regarding vaccinations. He recently used Facebook to publicize a book called On Immunity, by Eula Bliss. “The science is completely clear: vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community,” he wrote.
Despite the fact that links between vaccines and autism have been discredited, there are still many who believe that vaccines are harmful. But what about the harm caused by unvaccinated individuals who are spreading diseases that were once a thing of the past? Indeed, if Zuckerberg wanted to, he could shut down the Facebook pages of the “antivaxxers.” This does not violate any First Amendment rights, due to the fact that Facebook is a private company.
Another article on the Time website discusses the dangers of “tolerating” those who refuse to vaccinate their children. Recently, at a school in Melbourne, Australia, approximately a quarter of the school’s student body contracted chicken pox. Only 73.2 % of the students had been vaccinated. Apparently, the school does not require students to receive vaccinations, and instead wrote that “staff respects the right of every family to make choices about immunisation,” in a school newsletter back in May.
While tolerance is often a good thing, even called “the social and intellectual flexibility that allows a society to function at all,” at what cost does it come? Will our society eventually see a dangerous return of diseases that until recently have been kept at bay due to vaccines? The line has to be drawn somewhere, especially when the beliefs of certain individuals (despite the scientific facts) negatively impact those around them.