WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is calling public pressure placed on Delta Air Lines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to censor an NVIC video about flu prevention an “act of intimidation” to block public access to full and accurate health information about influenza.
NVIC was offered the opportunity to be a paid sponsor of a video about staying well during the flu season that would be included in Delta’s in-flight programming during November 2011. On Nov. 7, Forbes magazine published an article with a copy of a letter signed by the AAP President Robert Block, MD, accusing Delta of “putting children’s lives at risk” by showing travelers the NVIC sponsored video because it contains “harmful messages.”
In the AAP letter, the Pharma-funded medical trade association alleged that “The [NVIC] ad urges viewers to become informed about influenza and how to stay well during the flu season without resorting to the influenza vaccine.”
NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher responded, “Without cause, the AAP has used their considerable financial resources and political influence to intimidate Delta for simply showing a video that offers accurate information about ways to stay healthy during the flu season, including talking with doctors about getting a flu shot. Censorship and attacks on consumer advocacy groups working to institute informed consent protections in public health policies should not be tolerated in this or any society that cherishes free speech and the right to self determination.”
The AAP letter stated that “influenza vaccine continues to be the best way to protect against the disease,” without acknowledging that a recently published scientific study found that the flu vaccine is less than 70 percent effective in preventing influenza, which confirms previous studies questioning influenza vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. A top flu expert at the CDC has said that about 80 percent of flu-like illness reported in the U.S. every year is not influenza but is caused by other viruses and bacteria.
“The AAP’s leadership is clearly threatened by educated consumers, who have every right to engage in critical thinking when making choices about how to stay healthy,” said Fisher. “Why is the AAP so afraid to admit that washing our hands, covering our mouths when coughing, eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, exercising, and lowering stress are also important ways to stay well during the flu season and all year around?”
In the letter to Delta, the AAP alleged that NVIC “opposes the nation’s recommended childhood immunization schedule and promotes the unscientific practice of delaying or skipping vaccines altogether.” During NVIC’s three-decades of work to secure vaccine safety and informed consent protections in U.S. public health laws, NVIC has criticized one-size-fits-all vaccine mandates and advocated for more and better quality vaccine safety science but has not told individuals to use a particular vaccine schedule or told them not to get vaccinated.
“NVIC is a non-profit charity led by educated health care consumers. We are not doctors and do not tell people how or when to vaccinate or advise people not to vaccinate,” said NVIC’s Fisher. “We have a long public record of promoting well-informed, voluntary health care decision-making.”
This is the second time this year that the AAP has publicly attacked NVIC and taken action to censor information NVIC has made available to the public. In April, the AAP publicized a similar letter sent to CBS in an unsuccessful attempt to strong arm CBS into removing NVIC’s 15-second message shown on the Jumbotron in Times Square through the month of April.
Parent co-founders of NVIC worked with Congress on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and were responsible for securing historic informing, recording and reporting safety provisions in that law. The AAP and vaccine manufacturers lobbied Congress to secure a shield from civil liability for vaccine injuries and deaths in the 1986 law.
“Twenty five years ago, the AAP got liability protection for their pediatrician members, who are no longer accountable in a court of law when the liability-free vaccines they give ending up hurting a child,” said Fisher. “Almost immediately following the 1986 law’s passage, the AAP narrowed medical contraindications to vaccination so that, today, almost no child qualifies for a medical exemption to vaccination. Now, the powerful AAP is lobbying in states like California and Washington to strip parents of the legal right to exercise informed consent to medical risk taking for their children or file non-medical vaccine exemptions. This is becoming a civil and human rights issue involving censorship, inequality, discrimination and persecution of citizens by medical doctors wielding too much power.”
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC.org) is a 501C3 charity founded in 1982 by parents of vaccine injured children and is dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and protecting the informed consent ethic in medicine.