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Friday
Nov112011

Delta In-Flight Ad Spurs Backlash From Flu Vaccine Advocates

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A video commercial sponsored by a non-profit, anti-vaccine organization now playing on Delta flights has come under fire by a pediatrician organization, prompting the airlines to review its approval process for in-flight programming.

The nearly three-minute public service announcement put on by The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) describes alternative methods to preventing the flu besides getting the flu shot.

The video also includes a statement by the president and co-founder of NVIC, Barbara Loe Fisher, saying the flu shot doesn't effectively protect against nearly 80 percent of flu cases.

In a letter to Delta, the American Academy of Pediatrics president, Robert Block, urged the airline company to consider removing the ads.

According to ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor, Dr Richard Besser, the ad leaves out the importance of the flu vaccine.

"Flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu," said Besser. "This was not made clear in the ads from the National Vaccine Information Center."

In a response to the AAP, Delta conceded that the video does not point to vaccines as the primary source for flu prevention.

"Therefore, we have changed our internal review processes and procedures to help ensure that submitted content is vetted differently going forward," Delta's general manager of occupational health, Barbara Martin, wrote in response.

Delta declined to comment to ABC News on specific changes it plans to make to its review process.

The video led to an online petition calling for removal of the ads. The petition has received more than 2,000 signatures.

The paid commercial will run on Delta flights through November, which complies with the two parties' contract.

In December, the vaccine advocacy group Every Child by Two will display its PSA on Delta flights calling for everyone 6 months and older to get the flu shot.

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