The AAP protests the anti-vaccine ads being aired by CBS

Excellent! It’s about time the bigger guns started getting involved. Remember the anti-vaccine ads being run on the big CBS JumboTron in Times Square? Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics has finally weighted in to complaint. Here’s the letter:

April 13, 2011

Mr. Wally Kelly
Chairman and CEO
CBS Outdoor
405 Lexington Ave., 14th floor
New York, NY 10174

Dear Mr. Kelly,

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) objects to the paid advertisement/public service message from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) being shown throughout the month of April on the CBS JumboTron in Times Square, New York. The AAP and many other child health organizations have worked hard to protect children and their families from unfounded and unscientific misinformation regarding vaccine safety. Vaccines are safe.

By providing advertising space to an organization like the NVIC, which opposes the nation’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether, you are putting the lives of children at risk, leaving them unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Diseases like measles and pertussis (whooping cough) can have serious consequences, including seizures, brain damage and even death. From January 1 through December 31, 2010, 9,477 cases of pertussis (including ten infant deaths) were reported throughout California. This is the most cases reported in 65 years there.

The AAP’s 60,000 member pediatricians urge you to remove these harmful messages, which fail to inform the public about the safety of life-saving vaccines. Please do your part to help reassure parents that vaccinating their children on schedule is the best way to protect them from deadly diseases.

Sincerely,

O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP
President

Pour it on, people Pour it on.

Everyone has the right to free speech, but the there is no inherent right to blast that free speech every hour over a huge JumboTron. By accepting the NVIC/Mercola ads, CBS exhibited extreme corporate irresponsibility. Although the ads themselves don’t push pseudoscience (at around 15 seconds, they’re too short), they do urge viewers to go to the NVIC website to “get informed” about the “risks” of vaccination. Since the NVIC is irredeemably anti-vaccine, the information there is misleading, pseudoscientific, and anti-vaccine to the core. Don’t believe me? Just type “NVIC” into the search blog of this blog. Or type “Mercola and vaccine.” Then read.

In the meantime, let’s make our right to free speech heard. Tell CBS that its irresponsibility is not going unnoticed, that it’s permitting its JumboTron to be used in the service of the ploy of telling parents to “know the risks” and then referring them to websites that exaggerate the risks beyond all evidence. It’s a perfect example of promoting misinformed consent, because the ads refer parents to sites full of anti-vaccine propaganda. What CBS is doing is bad for children, bad for herd immunity, and bad for public health.