I found out here that CBS are showing anti-vaccination ads in Times Square and read here how to complain about it. I have since signed the petition, tweeted and emailed. It was easy and since the ads are still running, I urge you to do the same.
My email (which I invite you to plagiarise) was as follows:
I have serious concerns over the decision to show the ad for Mercola and NVIC on CBS Outdoor’s JumboTron on 42nd street.
I am a graduate in Biology from the United Kingdom and studied Epidemiology as part of my course. I believe the importance of vaccination cannot be overstated.
Vaccination is one of the biggest breakthroughs in modern medicine and mass vaccination has saved millions of lives. If the percentage of uptake of vaccines drops below a certain level, diseases that were once rare can spread easily through the population once more. For this reason, I believe ads such as this one are a threat to public health.
I am also a mother of two young children. I understand the urge to protect your child from anything and that it ‘feels wrong’ to willingly inject a healthy baby with something Mercola and NVIC believe to be unsafe (even in some cases ‘deadly’). Mercola and NVIC tap into that natural maternal feeling but give a misleading, mistaken and one-sided account. One of the reasons it feels safe not to vaccinate is that we are lucky enough to live in a society with low infant mortality – largely because of vaccination. We have forgotten the damage that can be done by diseases such as measles. We barely know what diphtheria is – but if we could ask our grandparents it would be a different story.
I have seen first hand how effective anti-vaccination campaigns can be. My own children were vaccinated in the time shortly after the huge UK media interest in Andrew Wakefield’s paper which linked MMR vaccination to autism. Vaccination rates had dropped sharply at this time, leading to a greatly increased incidence of measles and mumps, some serious illness and death. The NHS have had to spend lots of time and money educating people on the safety and importance of vaccination in an attempt to keep the rates up and hence control the prevalence of these diseases.
Although Wakefield’s theories have since been discredited and even declared fraudulent, the fear among the general public persists. There has not been anywhere near as much media interest in Wakefield’s downfall as there was in his original paper. Mercola and NVIC continue to repeat his disproven theories. The information on their websites is on the whole misleading and in many cases, simply wrong.
CBS should not be giving them a platform.