The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling out Delta Airlines for allowing in-flight advertising from the National Vaccine Information Center, an organization that bills itself as a vaccine “watchdog.”
The nearly 3-minute NVIC video on influenza seems harmless enough. It shares various flu symptoms and talks about how to prevent respiratory infections and flu by things like washing hands and drinking lots of water. It even mentions getting the flu shot. If you follow up on their website, though, which the video encourages you to do, you’ll find the NVIC is very negative about the flu vaccine.
Forbes reports that the AAP released a statement asking Delta to remove the advertising from its flights: “In the letter to Delta, the AAP writes that the NVIC ‘opposes the nation’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether’ and that this leaves children unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases.” According to the AAP, 115 children died last year from complications of the flu.
Additionally, a mother in Texas has created a petition on Change.org to have the advertising removed. Elyse Anders has already gotten a couple thousand supporters to sign the petition, which reads in part, “The NVIC is a notorious anti-vaccine organization, whose name and website are designed to give the impression that they are a legitimate government agency. However their ‘vaccine information’ is designed to frighten the public and encourage individuals to opt out of protecting themselves and their children through immunization.”
Thus far, Delta has not responded.
What do you think? Should Delta remove the advertising? Is the NVIC video useful and educational or meant to trick viewers into learning more about why they believe people should beware vaccines? Are they potentially harming people? Or do they have a right to promote their message?