An Australian mother's plea to other parents to get their kids vaccinated has gone viral, racking up more than 54,000 shares in less than three days.
The mother, Kayley Burke, shared wince-inducing photographs of her 11-month-old son, Elijah, who is too young to get vaccinated. After having chicken pox for a week, Elijah was taken to hospital in Australia, where doctors diagnosed him with a secondary infection.
While the young boy is in good hands, the photos show how much he's been through -- his face and head are covered in sores and scabs. Burke blamed the anti-vaccine movement for the resurgence of chicken pox.
"Bottom line if you don't vaccinate your kids [you're] a bloody idiot," she wrote in the Facebook post. "Think about the risk you are putting on other helpless kids that are too young or who actually can't be vaccinated!"
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The anti-vaccine movement, which contends that vaccinations are responsible for conditions like autism, has taken off in recent years. Although studies have repeatedly shown there is no link between vaccinations and autism, some celebrities have been waging a public war against vaccinations and repeating disproven allegations about their effects on children.
The most strident anti-vaccine celebrities include Jenny McCarthy, Jenna Elfman, Jim Carrey, Bill Maher and Scientologist Danny Masterson, according to Jezebel.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is mostly famous for being the third of 11 children born to the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, "peddles dangerous nonsense" with his claims about vaccines, according to Time magazine.
"RFK, Jr. may still know a thing or two about global warming," a Time editorial reads, "but he has taken a disreputable plunge into the world of anti-science with his new and inexplicable crusade: warning people about the dangers of vaccines."
The anti-vaccine movement has continued to gain steam, despite warnings from scientists that it's leading to resurgent and dangerous viruses and infections, like measles. Measles, which can be fatal, was all but eradicated in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 667 confirmed cases in 2015.
In a fact sheet providing information about chicken pox, the CDC urges parents to get their children vaccinated.
"Once it gets going, chickenpox is very contagious and can catch up with anyone in its path who’s not received chickenpox vaccine," the CDC warns. "Before the vaccine was available, about 100 people in the U.S. died each year from chickenpox. Fortunately, you can make yourself nearly invincible against chickenpox if you get the vaccine."