Thursday, September 24, 2015

When Pro-Vaccine Goes Wrong

Every blogger gets emails to flog someone's materials and are either ignored or dealt with more creatively.  Mostly we ignore them but yesterday Just the Vax received a solicitous email asking us to promote a "new lifestyle movement" that couldn't be ignored:


Brand Wristband Promotes Pro-Vaccination Choice

August 24, 2015, Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles based mom, Trisha Gum, today has launched a new website to promote vaccinations for children called Parents for Vaccinations.  The website was created to generate a pro-vaccination lifestyle and make it easy for that lifestyle choice to be instantly recognizable.

Years ago parents could depend on herd immunity to protect young children and people of all ages who suffer from health conditions leading to immunodeficiency.  With the increasing number of parents who choose to delay vaccinating their children, or skip vaccination altogether, that general reliability is no longer the case. 
“As a mom of two small children, I knew all the typical safety questions parents ask whenever their kids meet up for a play-date or visit an unfamiliar home: Is there a pool, and is it fenced or covered? Do you smoke? Do you have a dog?” states Gum. “Recently it dawned on me there was a new safety question to ask; and with this wristband, the question is easily answered.”

Approaching this important vaccination question is made easier, in fact, even eliminated with the Parents for Vaccinations lifestyle wristband.  The bright orange silicone wristband on children’s wrists alerts everyone that the child’s parents believe in vaccinations.  The wristbands are available in six sizes from toddler – adult and are $3.95 with family-pack discounts available. 

Like herd immunity, the vaccination process is a numbers game. The goal of Parents for Vaccinations is to band together and change the conversation across the country. The brand is launching the hashtag #raiseyourwrist to be used on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to create a sense of community for the movement.

A portion of the Parents for Vaccinations wristband proceeds will benefit nonprofit organizations that provide education and outreach for vaccinations nationwide.  For more information on Parents for Vaccinations, please visit

About Parents for Vaccinations
Parents for Vaccinations believes that parents have a responsibility to make sure they are prepared for whatever risks their kids may encounter. With several credible news reports regarding outbreaks of long-dormant childhood diseases, Parents for Vaccination families have chosen to trust their pediatrician and make what they believe is the only responsible choice. The brand’s bright orange silicone wristband promotes this choice via a simple, visual announcement. Parents for Vaccinations love vaccinations. They love that those vaccinations protect their kids and make their family, their neighborhood, and their hometown a little safer. To join the movement and share this message, please visit and socially via @parentsforvaccinations on Facebook and Instagram, and @ParentsForVax on Twitter. 

Media Contact
White Handed PR

At best, this is not a well-thought-out campaign and at worst, carpet-bagging on the increased awareness of the anti-vaccine movement.  First, this "campaign" promotes identifying the nice, little vaccinated children to play with each other with a wristband to the exclusion of everyone else very much like...
Secondly, who's to say that an unvaccinated family can't buy these wristbands to make a point in order to let their unvaccinated children be able to play with the "identifiable" vaccinated children?  It's pitting children against children and punishing children for their parents' decisions while claiming the high ground and celebrating sanctimonious self-righteousness.  It's just plain wrong and won't do anything to promote increased vaccination uptake.  On the contrary, it will turn people off, even those of us who promote vaccination and work (on our own time and own dime) countless hours to counter anti-vaccine propaganda.

Lastly, at the time of this writing Parents for Vaccinations did not list the "non-profit organizations" they intend to donate the proceeds for the sale of the wristbands to nor the percentage of each sale that would be donated (it's certainly something I consider before making a purchase).  They also haven't declared (and provided proof) that these wristbands were manufactured in a facility that doesn't use child and/or forced labour.

While perhaps well-intentioned, this campaign is seriously misguided.  I hope that Ms. Gum will re-direct this campaign to make this a conversation between parents and not use children as vehicles to distinguish the "good" parents from the "bad" parents.  Much of what perturbs me about this campaign is that it feeds into the "Mompetition" style of parenting that we can do without.  Parenting isn't an Olympic competition.

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