TUCSON, Ariz., March 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has sent a letter to social media giants asking them to block parents' access to what they term "vaccine misinformation" on their platforms.
The letter is addressed to the CEOs of Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, Google, YouTube, and Twitter. It expresses the fear that "anti-vaccine" messages might "persuade people to make medical decisions that could spark the spread of easily preventable diseases."
The letter states concern that "users have access to scientifically valid information on vaccinations, so they can make informed decisions about their families' health."
"There is no lack of access to the official, government and AMA-approved views on the CDC's 'recommended,' mandatory vaccination schedule," states Jane Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). "It is at the top of Google's search-engine results."
"Parents will also get this information from their physicians—along with the message from many pediatricians that the doctor will refuse to care for their child if they deviate from the schedule."
The AMA points out that "social media [is] serving as a leading source of information for the American people."
"The internet thus allows Americans to learn of diverse views, unlike in the days when three television networks controlled access to the news," stated Dr. Orient.
"Vaccines are an essential tool in our armamentarium, but like with all medical interventions there are adverse effects, some serious or lethal. Risks and benefits vary with the severity and prevalence of the disease, the safety of the vaccine, and the characteristics of each patient," she added.
"Vaccine decisions should include more things than the size of the needle to use based on the patient's age. The CDC's schedule may not be right for you."
"Excluding opposing views is one definition of propagandizing," Dr. Orient says. "Without open, free discussion, science dies."
"Physicians, along with all Americans, should oppose a gag rule on dissent. The first target of censorship is rarely the last."
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943. Its motto is "omnia pro aegroto," or "all for the patient."
SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)