Times Square’s 5000 Sq Ft Anti-Vaccine Party Extravaganza!

Remember when the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) tried to kill you on Delta flights by telling everyone that the flu is no big deal and that if you just wash your hands you won’t get sick from the guy next to you smearing boogers all over your arm rest? That was pretty great. Especially now that a swine flu variant has emerged in 5 states.

But the NVIC isn’t happy with just spreading horrible diseases on airplanes. Now they’re running a new ad in Times Square on ABC Full Circle’s 5000 square foot TSQ Digital Screen, where millions of people get to see it every day. And its scheduled to run during the Times Square New Years Eve celebration.

And if you think a little 15 second ad in Times Square is inconsequential, you should probably know that in New York whooping cough cases for August through December have almost tripled since last year. Warning people to “know the risks” of vaccines and directing them to a website designed to scare the hell out of anyone considering getting a vaccine is the kind of thing that ends with, for example, a tripling of preventable infectious disease cases.

Think of the Times Square Ball dropping as a metaphor for polio descending upon New York City… then think about how awful that is, and do something about it.


Jamie Bernstein, of the Women Thinking Free Foundation and the Hug Me I’m Vaccinated campaign, posted a petition demanding the removal of this ad:

National Vaccine Information Center’s ad running on the ABC Full Circle Screen in Times Square spreads needless fear about childhood vaccinations.

An ad by the NVIC earlier this year on a different screen in Times Square and an NVIC PSA that was playing on Delta Airline flights was condemned by the American Academy of Pediatrics as being harmful, unfounded, unscientific and misleading.

The NVIC is a notorious anti-vaccine organization, whose name and website are designed to give the impression that they are a legitimate government agency. However their “vaccine information” is designed to frighten the public and encourage individuals to opt out of protecting themselves and their children through immunization.

This is an especially dangerous time to be spreading fear about vaccines in New York City, where the NYC Department of Health has confirmed 126 cases of whooping cough since August 2011. Whooping cough is a serious disease and infants are especially at risk of serious illness or even death. Vaccines are our most powerful tool in defense against diseases like whooping cough. However, if NVIC’s ad is successful, we may see more people refusing vaccinations for themselves and their children, and a rise in illness and death within the US.

NVIC’s Times Square ad is misleading and downright dangerous. ABC and Disney, you need to take responsibility for protecting public health by pulling this NVIC’s harmful ad before it can do more damage

I urge you to sign it right now. 

Please share the petition with your friends and relatives and neighbors and strangers.

Tweet @DisneyChannelPR using #ABCsSickNYE. You can copy/paste one of these or write your own:

I resolve to end deadly anti-vaccine propaganda. @DisneyChannelPR Pull NVIC’s anti-vax Times Square ad #ABCsSickNYE

Whooping cough is on the rise thanks to things like NVIC advertising on @DisneyChannelPR screens in NYC. #ABCsSickNYE

Don’t forget to tell them what you’ll be doing instead of tuning into ABS for Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve featuring the NVIC ad in the background. (And starring Jenny McCarthy… for real.)

Also, today is Jamie Bernstein’s birthday. And all she wants is to get ABC to agree to stop running dangerous ads in one of the most heavily traveled areas of the country. Help save Jamie’s birthday! Help save the world!



Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

Related Articles


  1. You need to change the title of this article. I completely blew by it because it didn’t say anything about an anti-vax ad.

    I only figured out what it was about because I say KO Meyers post something on G+ and though I wonder if that was what the story was about.

    This is too important for people to miss!

    1. They have hundreds of thousands of dollars in their advertising budgets. We have… well… only the ability to make it more difficult. We just have to keep at it. As Steve Novella said, we’re going to be playing whack a mole for a while.

  2. Happy birthday, Jamie Bernstein of the Women Thinking Free Foundation and the Hug Me I’m Vaccinated Campaign!

    An anecdote of an Internet acquaintance’s acquaintance/friend: telling parents about the specific symptoms of various vaccine-preventable diseases—in exacting, excruciating detail—seems to help parents make the right decision in vaccinating their children.

    Sounds pretty similar to fearmongering, but it at least has the benefits of 1)actually being true information, and 2)leading more parents (anecdotally) to vaccinate their kids.

    1. Also, is it useful to tweetbomb using other trending hashtags? As of my comment there’s #10YearsAgo and #ThatsATurnOff.

      I spun the first one into:
      @DisneyChannelPR #10YearsAgo antivaxers used fearmongering misinformation to make kids sick, like now: #ABCsSickNYE
      [link is to the Skepchick article]

      I’m not too sure how Twitter’s trending system works, but it could be a way to toss out more information into the cloudy-web-o-sphere.


  4. I believe most vaccines are extremely important. I also believe that some might be over the top. We chose to educate ourselves on every vaccine our child is to receive rather than blindly following anyone’s “helpful” advice.

    Our child is Autistic and I do NOT believe vaccines contributed in anyway. His Dad’s genes however…for sure.

    I would like to ask how snarky comments are helping educate those against vaccination? Seems to me, that’s stooping to the level of some who scream “conspiracy” rather loudly.

  5. @momonamission I doubt you will find many on this blog who blindly follow anything.

    And yes, Elyse is allowed to be snarky to people who spew verbal diarrhea in all caps. Those are not the people that she is trying to reach… they are not looking for a discussion just someone to yell at. She is trying to keep the antivaxers from lying to people. They are very good at what they do, they know what parental buttons to push. If they had even a bit of scientific evidence (and I mean the verifiable, reproducible, peer-reviewed kind), then there might be a reason to have a discussion. Elyse and others are trying to reach parents who simply don’t know what to believe and just need to be directed to educational resources that are accurate and have sound science behind them…not lies.

  6. Actually I think that, in the most ironic way possible, that person was referring to the Youtube video having comments disabled. That same person, an anti-vax supporter, then flagged the video as inappropriate. Now THAT’s hilarious. I guess they didn’t actually WATCH the video, they just started knee-jerking.

  7. I told the pediatrician before my baby was born that I didn’t want her to get the hep-B vaccine, as I had read it often caused autism. He forgot to tell the staff at the hospital, who gave it to her without even asking permission. It caused four days and nights of endless screaming, encephalitis, and she was diagnosed with autism at 20 months of age.
    You even want to keep people from learning about the risks of vaccines? Why would you want to do that? I had measles as a child. Measles is nothing compared to the life-long burden for everyone involved of autism or bowel disease. Whooping cough is nothing compared to asthma or seizure disorders, which the vaccine causes. My daughter got the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, as per recommended schedule, and she caught pertussis anyway at a La Leche League meeting when she was nine months old, and gave it to me. It was bad, but not life-threatening, and it was MUCH better than a life-long seizure disorder or asthma. There are lots of facts, lots of scientific studies implicating vaccines, lots of personal testimonies, and they aren’t made-up. Your sister-in-law or co-worker can doubtless tell you stories about how their disabled child was vaccine-damaged. Are we all just making it up for the money we’re making off of it? (I wish.) You don’t believe people have the right to take all the facts into account before they make the choice to vaccinate? This is MUCH crazier than anything we refusers could say. Great, my daughter was protected for three weeks from hepatitis-B, a disease that no babies or children of disease-free mothers get. Instead she suffered extreme pain from vaccine-induced encephalitis, and the brain damage caused her autism, which we have struggled with every day for the past ten years. Who benefited from this? (And we all know the answer to that.)

    1. Ms. Parker, you have been told several times that the plural of anecdote is not data at “Shot of Prevention.”

      Have you bothered to read the answers you received at Science Based Medicine?

      Now I see you have added more to your wall of text. It seems you say: “Measles is nothing compared to the life-long burden for everyone involved of autism or bowel disease. Whooping cough is nothing compared to asthma or seizure disorders, which the vaccine causes.”

      You have been asked multiple times to prove those contentions by posting the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers, but have refused. You have also refused to acknowledge any correction to your statements.

      Why should we take you seriously?

      By the way from “The Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review” (J Infect Dis. (2004) 189 (Supplement 1): S4-S16. doi: 10.1086/377712):

      Postinfectious encephalomyelitis (PIE) occurs in 13 per 1000 infected persons, usually 3–10 days after onset of rash [39, 131].

      As many as 25% of people with PIE due to measles die, and ?33% of survivors have lifelong neurological sequelae, including severe retardation, motor impairment, blindness, and sometimes hemiparesis [39, 131].

      What evidence do the symptoms you claim are actually attributable to the MMR vaccine, and are really worse than death and permanent disability?

    2. I love your lies that are spouted without any evidence!
      I’m so glad you typed out this great sob-story that has no basis of proof except your imagination, perhaps if we all lived there, we wouldn’t need vaccines. But since we live in the real world, where the danger of diseases reemerging is very real, vaccinations are a priority.

      I’ve provided this link ( to a reputable peer-reviewed organization with information on vaccines. But since you probably believe anyone with intelligence is bought by “Big Pharma” it sadly won’t help.

  8. Just more of “my anecdotes and questionable medical studies” is more valid than decades of medical research.

    Blame your DNA and environmental factors, not one of the greatest scientific discoveries in mankind’s history.

    You want to be fair game for every bug out there? That’s your egotistical and uninformed choice. Don’t push it on the child who has none of the choice and has to suffer all of the consequences.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button