A public service announcement aired on some Delta Air Lines flights is causing controversy. The spot, paid for by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), advises passengers to wash their hands and cover coughs and sneezes in order to prevent others from getting the flu. It also tells viewers to question their physician if a flu vaccine is recommended and concludes with NVIC president and co-founder Barbara Loe Fisher saying flu shots don't work in a majority of cases.
Health officials do recommend flu vaccines for babies and older adults, prompting the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics to write a letter to Delta decrying the misinformation presented in the NVIC spot. "While hand washing and covering sneezes are parts of a larger strategy to prevent the spread of influenza, influenza vaccine continues to be the best way to protect against the disease," the note reads, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Delta asked the NVIC to develop the commercial to raise awareness about preventing the spread of disease, which can be heightened by closely-packed airplane cabins. The center was founded almost 20 years ago by parents who blamed vaccines for their children's deaths, and it has been accused as posing as a federally backed agency to confuse and frighten parents about the side effects vaccines may cause.