Are These Anti-Vaccination Ads Dangerous?
Yes, according to Slate. A group called the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC), based in Virginia, has started placing billboards along roads in Arizona, Oregon, Texas and Illinois that read, “Vaccinations? Know the risks and failures.”
NVIC’s website has a page it calls a memorial for all those who have suffered “vaccine injuries” and deaths. These ads, says Phil Plait on Slate, are very misleading because they don’t provide any information about vaccines, not even in favor of their own argument. Nor does the group’s website. What’s most important to remember, Plait writes, is there’s always a risk. “Everything in medicine is tradeoff between risks and benefits. In the case of vaccines, though, the benefits hugely, overwhelmingly outweigh the risks. If you live in the U.S., try to find someone who has polio.”
He goes on to point out that the Andrew Wakefield, the scientist at the forefront of the anti-vaccination movement, was called a fraud two years ago by one of the most prominent medical journals in the world and has been barred from practicing medicine. There is an incredible wealth of research saying vaccines do not cause autism, ADHD, mental retardation, seizure disorders or any of the number of conditions NVIC lists on their site. Plait has gone as far as writing to ask Clear Channel, the owners of the billboard, to remove the advertisement and urges his readers to do the same (politely).
Have you seen these billboards?