Anti-vaccine billboards are popping up in Toronto
The debate over vaccines has become one of the most contentious topics of the year, with those against them, called anti-vaxxers, becoming more vocal every day.
Now, an anti-vaccine group by the name of Vaccine Choice Canada has erected billboards in the city, posing the question of whether or not to vaccinate to those who look up and read them.
One such billboard, located right outside the Eaton Centre, has big bold lettering that spells out, "How many is too many? Who decides? Educate before you vaccinate."
Ok. After an anti-vaccine billboard went up in Toronto yesterday, I’ve made a list of who you can and can’t trust for vaccine advice:— Bunsen (@bunsenbernerbmd) February 27, 2019
Everything else.#VaccinesWork #vaccines #truth #science pic.twitter.com/y3OZjcyDK6
The organization's vice president, Ted Kuntz, posted on Facebook to say that the group has four images, which are currently in rotation on 50 digital billboards around the GTA.
Kuntz later followed up with another post, clarifying that media coverage of Vaccine Choice Canada is incorrectly referring to the group as "anti-vaccine," when it is "vaccine risk aware."
RT if you think @OutfrontMediaEh has a responsibility to screen the content of their advertisements and should take down these billboards promoting false messages about vaccines in Toronto https://t.co/UIWXWu4GAb— Derek Leong (@Derek_Leong_RPh) February 27, 2019
Many were quick to point out that spreading doubt in the effectiveness of vaccines is inherently anti-vaccine.
"Undermining public confidence in vaccines is anti-vaccine behaviour. Vaccine hesitancy is leading to the outbreak of preventable diseases that cause real harm to real children," read one Facebook comment.
Most scientific institutions around the world have condemned the anti-vaxx movement in some capacity, including the World Health Organization and Toronto Public Health.
This is deeply disturbing, and potentially dangerous. I will be speaking with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health to determine how the City can and should respond. https://t.co/Jb1ni0vPSk— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) February 27, 2019
A measles outbreak in B.C., which is being attributed by healthcare professionals to vaccine hesitancy and low vaccination rates, has now spread to at least 13 reported cases.
The side effects of vaccines are extremely are, and when they do occur, are typically very mild. The most common are harmless or temporary, like itchiness near the injection site and sometimes headaches or a bit of joint pain following the vaccination. In rare cases, allergy problems may arise, as with any needle.
Vaccine Choice Canada's billboard campaign is expected to last two weeks, according to Kuntz, and make up to 2 million impressions.
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