A 47-year-old chiropractor, Joe Accuror, refused to get the vaccination for his daughter against polio, measles and whooping cough because he believes that minor illnesses such as these will not cause any problem, rather might be good for her in future.
"I am actually disappointed that she doesn't have the opportunity to get the chicken pox, to get diseases that make her body stronger in the future. That is our big reason," Joe Accuror told AFP.
Joe and his wife Cathy who is a physical therapist, see themselves as part of a vocal minority who believes in "vaccine choice". Parents who believe in this notion choose not to get immunization for their children against diseases. They may be from a higher background and educated, yet they believe that these diseases would rather boost the immunity of their child. These diseases used to kill more than millions of children every year.
According to these parents, illnesses are not so dangerous when compared to the vaccines. They believe that vaccines are being restrained from the public in the name of pharmaceutical profits. This view is largely accepted among people ranging from the United States to Europe and Australia.
Moreover, they are also influenced by purported medical whistleblowers who claim that vaccine effectiveness data has been changed and that injuries caused by vaccination are on the rise.
"Fuelled by distrust of the medical establishment, more than seven million people follow various US-based Facebook pages that question vaccines", said Richard Stein, a New York University cardiologist, last month in the journal Germs.
"Conspiracy theories on social media are alive and thriving, rejoicing their golden age," he added.
Fears about autism spread after British anti-vaccine activist Andrew Wakefield stated in his 1998 research that vaccines trigger autism. This claim was later found to be fraudulent.
"One of the pseudoscience phony central tenets of the anti-vax movement is to claim that measles is a benign illness or even good for you," said Peter Hotez, director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.
"Such ideas are deliberately misleading and false, and have real-world consequences", he added.