Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Safeminds, counterpoint to public health, wants to run antivax "PSA" in movie theaters for the holidays

That's really all there is to say. The "public service announcement" features someone who likely considers herself to be a health professional (she's a nurse and the executive director of SafeMinds) urging people to fear vaccinations. There is a focus on pregnant women and young children, specifically, and one huge shot of a needle and syringe surrounded by large droplets of mercury, of course not the thimerosal preservative used in shots (see screenshot).

She strongly implies that the "mercury" used in flu shots is harmful to pregnant women, infants, and children. Where are the data showing that? They do not exist.

Fear tactics at their worst. Why? Why would they endanger people in this way? Why mislead them like this? Thimerosal is not present in FluMist at all and is present only in multidose vials of the flu shot. Yet, this nurse says "many of them" contain "mercury." Yes, at the end, she says, "Demand mercury-free flu shots." But clearly, the real damage has been done, and their real goal achieved: engender more fear in every viewer's mind about vaccines. Showing pictures of pregnant women and cute little babies and a gallon of mercury will do that to people.

At their Website, they're asking people to donate money so that they can pay to run their horrifying misinformation campaign in movie theaters during the holidays.

Don't buy into the fear. Get the facts about flu and flu vaccines here. And if you want to donate money to something that will actually help people, how about PKIDS, Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases? These are the folks who suffer when fearmongers get their way.

UPDATE: Skepchick has identified the movie theaters to date that are showing this PSA, and a few commenters have found some ways to register your complaints about it. Take a look at her list and take the time to let the theater management know how you feel about it.