A Facebook advert that warned parents vaccines can “kill your child” has been banned following a complaint by a young mother.
The post, which claimed doctors would blame deaths supposedly caused by jabs on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, was also ruled to have caused “undue distress”.
In a ruling published on Wednesday, industry watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the campaign by a group called Stop Mandatory Vaccination made unsubstantiated claims.
It was banned after being found to breach rules regarding harm and offence, misleading advertising and substantiation.
The ad stated: “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).
“If you are on the fence about vaccinating, read this story and then join our Facebook group to talk with like-minded parents”.
The promoted post also featured an image of a baby with its eyes closed. Text accompanying the image read: “Owen Matthew Stokes (Aug 18, 2017 – Oct 25, 2017)”.
The mother of a young child complained about the advert, calling claims made within it misleading and arguing it was likely to cause “undue distress”.
When contacted by the ASA, American campaigner Larry Cook, trading as Stop Mandatory Vaccination, provided US Department of Health data on compensation claims over alleged injury or death caused by vaccinations.
The group argued the document showed in the US, the Vaccination Injury Compensation Act had paid out $4bn (£3bn) in relation to vaccine claims over the past 30 years.
Stop Mandatory Vaccination said parents who raised concerns about vaccinations were often ignored by doctors.
It also admitted it had targeted Facebook users interested in parenting in a bid to encourage them to reconsider vaccinating their children.
The data presented by the group showed between 1988 and 2018 in the US, 6,122 claims were compensated for injury or death allegedly caused by vaccinations and 11,214 claims were dismissed.
But, despite noting the number of pay-outs, the ASA ruled the existence of compensation claims did not prove vaccines caused children injury or death. Read more
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