Mark Zuckerberg – The CEO of Facebook has hit the headlines and this time it is all about the pro vaccine debate. This all came about because of his book club, A Year of Books on Facebook and his recent book choice, On Immunity by Eula Biss. This appears to be a controversial choice.
On Feb 18 he tweeted
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. It’s also a relatively short book — one that you should be able to read in a few hours. I encourage you to check it out and to join the discussion.’
The Times’s review of the book states that Biss doesn’t refer to an ‘anti-vaccination movement‘ and that she speaks only of ‘mothers.’
The Guardian reports that Zuckerman launched his book club in an attempt to “beat the popularity of Oprah’s book club.” His first book choice Moisés Naím’s The End of Power, had an increase in sales because it had been chosen by Zuckerman.
The following is an excerpt from On Immunity, in which Biss describes her paediatrician’s response to the questions she asked about the Hepatitis B vaccine:
“The belief that public health measures are not intended for people like us is widely held by many people like me. Public health, we assume, is for people with less – less education, less healthy habits, less access to quality health care, less time and money. I have heard mother of my class suggest, for instance, that the standard childhood immunisation schedule groups together multiple shots because poor people will not visit the doctor frequently enough to get the twenty-six recommended shots separately. No matter that any mother, myself included, might find so many visits daunting. That, we seem to be saying of the standard schedule, is for people like them.”
Claire Armitstead on the Guardian online website: Mark Zuckerberg’s book club fights US fear of vaccination