Anti-vaccine billboards claiming routine childhood shots are deadly are popping up across in several states
Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just a few of the states with billboards that declare ‘vaccines can kill’ and ‘there is no such thing as a safe vaccine’.
The placards feature the smiling face of New Jersey toddler who died in May 2017 with a grim warning about he was the ‘victim’ of a standard immunization.
Health professionals are warning that these signs are dangerous and could deter parents from vaccinating their children – a decision that has led to recent outbreaks of diseases not seen in years such as mumps and measles.
Anti-vaccine billboards have appeared in several US states including one featuring Nicholas Catone, the son of former MMA fighter, Nick Catone, who blames his toddler’s death on the DTaP vaccine
In several US cities, a billboard warns the story how the son of former Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Nick Catone died from a vaccine is a cautionary tale.
Twenty-month-old Nicholas Catone died 17 days after he received his diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, or DTaP, vaccine, according to the Herald-Dispatch.
The vaccination helps children younger than age seven develop immunity to three deadly diseases caused by bacteria: diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
Children usually get five doses of the vaccine at two months old, four months old, six months old, 15 to 18 months old, and four to six years old.
The cause of death was officially ruled as sudden infant death syndrome, but Catone and his wife Marjorie Madison-Catone, said they believe their son’s death was due to the vaccines.
The billboard was put up by Learn The Risk, a non-profit organization that seeks to educate on the ‘dangers’ of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines.
The placard features a picture of the smiling toddler and a quote from his mother that reads: ‘As a nurse I was never taught vaccines can kill until my son was a victim.
According to The Post-Standard, the billboard has appeared in Brick Township, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; Kansas City, Missouri; and New Haven, Connecticut.
Brandy Vaughan, the executive director of Learn The Risk, told the Herald-Dispatch that parents are never told about the potential side effects of vaccines.
‘It’s important to me that parents have the right information to make an informed choice about vaccines,’ she said.
‘It’s been my mission to tell what the pharmaceutical companies are hiding.’
Vaughan also claimed that health professionals may be unaware of the alleged dangers or choose to ignore them.
‘It’s clear, and everybody admits there are deaths,’ she told the newspaper.
Learn the Risk has put up more than 30 billboards featuring Nicholas Catone, but this is far from the first one.
Other posters erected by the organization across the US read: ‘Do you know what’s in a vaccine?’ and ‘Vaccines are NOT required for school! You can say NO!”
According to a 2015 article published in the journal Vaccine, ‘serious adverse reactions [to vaccines] are rare’.
The billboard was put up by Learn The Risk, a non-profit organization that seeks to educate on the ‘dangers’ of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines
Several US states have seen the billboards erected including Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia
‘However, because of the high volume of use, coincidental adverse events including deaths, that are temporally associated with vaccination, do occur,’ the article reads.
Catone is not the first person who has linked the DTaP vaccine to causing sudden infant death syndrome.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this is a long-standing myth due to the fact that several children who die of SIDS occur during the age range that they receive their DTaP shots.
‘But this logic is faulty; you might as well say that eating bread causes car crashes, since most drivers who crash their cars could probably be shown to have eaten bread within the past 24 hours,’ the CDC writes.
Several studies have confirmed that children who received the vaccine were less likely to die from SIDS.
The Institute of Medicine reported that ‘all controlled studies that have compared immunized versus non-immunized children have found either no association…or a decreased risk…of SIDS among immunized children.’
Mounting distrust has led some parents to not immunize their children, in turn leading to outbreaks of diseases not seen in years, such as measles, whooping cough and mumps.
Experts say that, as diseases have become less common, people don’t remember a time from before vaccines were commonplace.
‘Because we don’t frequently see these diseases anymore, we don’t perceive the risk of not getting vaccinated,’ says Julie Bettinger, a vaccine safety scientist at BC Children’s Hospital, told Today’s Parent.
‘But the diseases we developed vaccines for – like polio, which killed or crippled thousands of children – were selected precisely because they’re so severe.’