American Academy of Pediatrics calls for anti-vaccine billboard to be taken down

The American Academy of Pediatrics is has called for an anti-vaccine billboard in New York's Times Square to be removed.

The advertisement was paid for and endorsed by the non-profit organization the National Vaccine Information Center and the website The ad, which includes the image of a mother and her baby, the Statue of Liberty, and the words, “Vaccination. Your Health. Your Family. Your Choice,” will be shown until April 28, the Guardian reports.

The AAP said that CBS Outdoor should remove the ad or risk the lives of children by encouraging parents to delay or skip vaccination.

Dr. Marion Burton, president of the AAP wrote a letter to CBS Outdoor chairman Wally Kelly imploring the company to remove the advertisement.  

"The AAP's 60,000 member pediatricians urge you to remove these harmful messages...Please do your part to help reassure parents that vaccinating their the best way to protect them from diseases,” Burton wrote, according to the Guardian. “(AAP has) worked hard to protect children and their families from unfounded and unscientific misinformation regarding vaccine safety.”

Multiple blogs have also started campaigns to sign petitions against the advertisement.

Mercola, the NVIC and NVIC spokesperson, Playboy model Jenny McCarthy, have blamed many common ingredients in vaccines for a number of health problems, including breast cancer, infertility and autism. They frequently cite thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, insisting that there has been a direct connection between vaccines containing thimerosal and autism.

As a precautionary measure, thimerosal has been eliminated or reduced in vaccines in the United States and Europe.

Andrew Wakefield, the scientist whose studies linked the MMR vaccine and autism, has since been accused of fraud, struck off the General Medical Council and resigned from the National Health Service.