The city of Toronto ran an ad promoting COVID-19 vaccination for children, depicting a little girl staying indoors for fear of the pandemic.
The ad, which was posted on social media, showed a girl at her home looking at other kids playing outside and her mom asking, “Hey mom, can I go outside and play with my friends?”
To which her mother replies, “No honey, there’s still something going around.”
“Okay,” the girl replies while continuing to look out the window with a sad expression on her face.
The ad ends with the message: “Kids should be out there. Not in here. COVID-19 vaccines available for children from 6 months to 12 years. Thank you for getting vaccinated,” with a link to the city’s COVID-19 information page.
In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, a city spokesman said the ad was removed because it did not satisfactorily convey its intended message.
“The intent of the video, in consultation with the community ambassadors involved in the city’s immunization campaign, was to let hard-to-reach communities know that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children — that the vaccines are safe, effective, and will protect children and their families and community,” said Brad Ross, chief communications officer for the City of Toronto.
“We recognize that the execution of the message in the video fell short. We will work to ensure that all future communications on this subject are clear and unambiguous.”
The ad received a large amount of negative feedback online.
“This is sick and twisted government propaganda and manipulation of taxpayers’ money,” New Blue Party of Ontario leader Jim Karahalios said on Twitter.
“This ad has a really dark subtext. Really really dark,” tweeted attorney and political commentator Ari Goldkind.
Health Canada approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to under 5 years this month and Moderna’s vaccine for the same age group in July.
Denmark has stopped vaccinating people under the age of 18, and the UK has restricted child vaccination to those who are at high risk due to health conditions or a weakened immune system.
Data from Public Health Ontario shows that the COVID-19 fatality rate is 0.6 for people aged 0 to 19 years. Out of a population of over 3.1 million in that age category, the province has had 19 deaths since the pandemic began.