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A Facebook Ad Claiming Any Vaccine Could 'Kill Your Child' Is Now Banned in the UK

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The UN’s Global Goals call for good health and wellbeing, including access to quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. Join us by taking action here to support the Global Goals. 

A Facebook advert telling parents that any vaccine can “kill your child has been banned, after the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled it was “misleading.” 

The advert — which was reportedly promoted to Facebook users interested in parenting — also claimed that doctors would attribute deaths related to vaccines to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

“Parents, not only can any vaccine given at any age kill your child, but if this unthinkable tragedy does occur, doctors will dismiss it as ‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome’ (SIDS),” read the advert, created by a campaign group called Stop Mandatory Vaccination. 

Take Action: Encourage South Africans to Prioritise Child Health and #VaxTheNation

“If you are on the fence about vaccinating, read this story and then join our Facebook group to talk with like-minded parents,” it continued. 

The advert also reportedly featured an image of a baby, with text accompanying the image saying “Owen Matthew Stokes (Aug 18, 2017 — Oct. 25, 2017).” 

According to the ASA, the advert featured unsubstantiated claims and was also said to cause “undue distress,” reported the Independent

It was deemed to breach rules on harm and offence, as well as on misleading advertising and substantiation. 

As well as banning the advert, Stop Mandatory Vaccination was also told not to claim that vaccines can kill children in future campaigns. 

According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) advice on vaccinations, “vaccines are among the safest [medicines] and the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risk of side effects.” 

“When you’re considering a vaccination for yourself or your child, it’s natural to focus on the potential side effects,” it continues. “But a better approach is to try to balance the benefits of having a vaccine against the chances of harm.” 

It says that, while it “may be tempting to say ‘no’ to vaccination and ‘leave it to nature,’” not vaccinating your child “puts them at risk of catching a range of potentially serious, even fatal, diseases.” 

“In reality, having a vaccination is much safer than not having one,” it adds. “They’re not 100% effective in every child, but they’re the best defence against the epidemics that used to kill or permanently disable millions of children and adults.” 

One example of a disease often vaccinated against is measles and, according to the United Nations, about 5.5 billion measles vaccines delivered to children have saved more than 20 million lives since 2000. 

When contacted by the ASA, the Stop Mandatory Vaccination group reportedly argued that United States Department of Health data on vaccine-related compensation claims showed the Vaccination Injury Compensation Act had paid out £3 billion ($4 billion) in the past three decades. 

The ASA said that compensation claims didn’t prove vaccines caused injury or death in children. 

“We considered that the evidence did not demonstrate that all vaccinations were capable of causing death to children,” said an ASA spokesperson. “Because we had not seen sufficient evidence that showed all vaccinations were proven to have the capability of causing death to children, we concluded that the claim ‘not only can any vaccine given at any age kill your child’ had not been substantiated and was misleading.” 

“We considered that the image of a baby lying down with its eyes closed accompanied by its date of death suggested that the baby was dead and was likely to be distressing to readers, especially to parents,” it added.