In June 2022 I was moved to write this article in response to a disturbing NHS COVID-19 vaccine advertising campaign, which appeared to be directly targeting children aged five to 11 years by using cartoon superhero characters and a party invitation style leaflet promoting COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics for primary school-age children. Although sent to their parents, the poster directly addressed children with the bold title ‘Calling All Superhero Kids’ and was designed in the style of a children’s party invitation, with cartoon superhero branding, large writing and bright, eye-catching colours. At the time I commented that:
For the NHS to be directly targeting young children under 12 to encourage them to take a novel medical treatment and in such a superficial and coercive way is completely unethical and abhorrent.
I was shocked to see a similarly unethical initiative advertised on a London GP practice’s social media a few days ago. Its tweet (now removed following our comments– photo below) was excitedly advertising its ‘Annual Peppa Pig’s Flu Clinic’ with promises of party food, soft play and other kids activities, as a fun and desirable setting to receive their flu vaccine.
Further investigation revealed that the Richmond Road Medical Centre’s Peppa Pig Flu Clinic has been running since 2021, with a post promoting the 2021 clinic on the GP practice’s Facebook page and this 2022 clinic highlights video and event update below posted on their website:
Peppa Pig’s Flu Clinic – September 2022
We had a brilliant turnout at our second Peppa Pig themed flu clinic at the Surgery.
In response to the local Polio outbreak, we also offered polio boosters to eligible children. The event was action-packed with an array of fun activities for the children to enjoy which included face-painting, arts and crafts, a bouncy castle and of course the chance to meet and greet Peppa herself!
Dr. Jonathan Engler, Co-Chair of HART, also flagged up in this tweet another poster from Richmond Road Medical Centre, using the same Peppa Pig marketing but this time to plug its COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for “vulnerable” children – which in reality includes perfectly healthy children who live with a so-called “vulnerable” adult.
At this stage, when multiple organisations and doctors around the world (including the World Council for Health in November 2021 and Dr. Peter McCullough in a speech in the EU Parliament in September 2023) have called for the complete withdrawal of COVID-19 genetic vaccines from the marketplace, citing data that the risks outweigh any benefits for all cohorts, particularly for younger people, it is indefensible that medical authorities in the U.K. are still giving these products to children.
As the CEO of the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance, one of the U.K.’s leading voices on medical ethics, I have recorded and published a video statement calling out the complete violation of medical ethics in creating this event – full transcript below.
This statement is in response to shocking images of ‘Peppa Pig’s Flu Clinic’ on Richmond Road Medical Centre’s Twitter feed. It appears to be using the
popular children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig (along with party food, soft play and other kids’ activities) to advertise and promote flu vaccines to children.
I would like to remind the NHS, medical organisations and healthcare professionals responsible, that laws and ethical and professional codes enshrine
the principle of properly obtaining informed consent for all medical interventions. As well as requiring a full explanation of risks as well as benefits, they specify
that coercion and bribery must not be used. In addition, the Human Medicines Regulations Act 2012 outlaws the advertising of medical products.
The cynical use of cartoon characters, bouncy castles, face-painting and popcorn to promote vaccines to children, prompting ‘pester power’, is unacceptable.
This sinister behaviour and marketing should have no place in the sober and ethical provision of healthcare, especially to children who are particularly vulnerable
to this sort of exploitation.
At the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance, we are deeply concerned about manipulative and unethical marketing of vaccines directly to children, and the use of inappropriate and coercive settings to deliver these injections, such as this party clinic, which makes informed consent impossible and makes children vulnerable to exploitation for material gain by the pharmaceutical industry. This culture of ‘medical grooming’ of children must stop now and as parents we must protect our children and demand that they are not targeted in this way
Dr. Elizabeth Evans is CEO of the U.K. Medical Freedom Alliance.