Kat Von D has revealed that she won't vaccinate her baby because she believes immunisation shots are 'not safe'.
The makeup entrepreneur and tattoo artist, who is pregnant with her first child with new husband Leafar Seyer, revealed her decision in an Instagram post, dismissing "unsolicited advice" from fans about parenting.
"If you don't know what it's like to have the entire world openly criticise, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you - try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations," she wrote.
Viewers reacted to many elements of her statement - but the anti-vaccination element drew the most ire from fans and medical professionals alike, reports Daily Mail.
One person wrote: "Do you question and rule out all of modern medicine then? Where does it stop? You don't trust antibiotics? Ibuprofen?"
Another said: "I was on board until you got to the "no vaccinations" part. That is not a "my kid, my choice" thing; you are actively putting other people at risk when you don't vaccinate your child. Please talk to an actual medical professional about this!!"
And another claimed the 36-year-old's stand against vaccines and meat chalked with her business, selling make-up with "tons of plastic components" that "endangers wildlife and habitat".
Dr Robert M Jacobson, a pediatrician and former medical director for the Population Health Science Program at Mayo Clinic, had about 15 minutes worth of clap-backs to Von D's statement.
I knew the minute we announced our pregnancy that we would be bombarded with unsolicited advice. Some good and some questionable - unsolicited none the less. I also was prepared for the backlash and criticism we would get if we decided to be open about our personal approach to our pregnancy. My own Father flipped out on me when I told him we decided to ditch our doctor and go with a midwife instead. If you don't know what it's like have people around you think you are ridiculous, try being openly vegan. And, if you don't know what it's like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you - try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations. My point being: I already know what it's like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority. So your negative comments are not going influence my choices - actual research and educating myself will - which i am diligently doing. This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey. Feel free to follow me on here if you like what I'm about - whether it's tattooing, lipstick, Animal Rights, sobriety, feminism, ridiculous gothiness, black flower gardening, cats, or my adorable husband. But if you don't dig a certain something about what I post, i kindly ask that you press the unfollow button and move the fuck on. So before anyone of you feel inspired to tell me how to do this, I would appreciate you keeping your unsolicited criticism to yourself. More importantly, for those who have amazing positive energy to send my way, I will gladly and graciously receive it with love! X
Chief among them was his confusion over her concerns about vaccines despite being heavily tattooed.
"Vaccines are the most tested thing that we as physicians prescribe, because they are being administered to millions of people so there is no room for error," Dr Jacobson told DailyMail.com.
"Vaccines are tested in tens of thousands of people, compared to, say antibiotics to prevent infection from a tattoo, which are tested in hundreds."
Mexican-American Von D, whose real name is Katherine von Drachenberg, is part of a growing anti-vaccination movement, that infectious disease specialists warn could threaten the health of the next generation.
The CDC advises that babies get their first round of vaccines at two months old, unless they are ill, have a chronic illness, or have suffered allergic reactions, in which case their doctor will plan a different approach or delay vaccinating.
Generally, this involves getting five:
1. DTaP 2. Hib 3. Hepatitis B 4. Polio 5. PCV13
These protect against seven diseases:
• diphtheria (which can cause heart failure) • tetanus (or 'lockjaw') • pertussis ('whooping cough') • Hib (a type of flu that leads to meningitis) • hepatitis B • polio • pneumococcal disease
Prior to the existence of these vaccines, thousands of children died a year of these diseases.
Since the mid-20th century, the rate of preventable child deaths has plummeted - a shift largely attributed to the introduction of vaccines.
However, support for vaccines is waning.
Dr Pritish Tosh, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at the Mayo Clinic, told Daily Mail Online that while some anti-vaxxers can survive unscathed, that is largely because their peers are vaccinated.
The further the rate of vaccination drops, he warns, the more endangered our community becomes.
Dr Tosh explains that the strength of many vaccines, such as measles, partly relies on "herd immunity", requiring that the vast majority of each community (at least 90 percent) is protected.
"When you have some people who are unvaccinated or under vaccinated in a community then we lose some of that herd immunity meaning the populations can be at-risk of infection, even if they were vaccinated.
"Once you start dropping in that number, you run a risk of re-introducing mumps into a population.
"Certainly, unvaccinated people get sick but also there will likely be vaccinated people who get sick because the vaccine is not 100 percent effective."
He warns: "The unvaccinated people are amplifying the outbreak then allowing some who are unvaccinated to become sick. This has been seen more and more including in college campuses."
Are you a parent in New Zealand? We want to hear from you. Join our parenting group on Facebook.