One ad, in particular, garnered outsized criticism, prompting the city to delete it. Eventually, all the ads were dropped.
“The City removed a tweet and video from earlier today,” they said on Twitter, adding that Toronto “will work to ensure greater clarity in the future” regarding vaccines.
In a statement to journalist Joe Warmington, the City of Toronto’s chief communications officer Brad Ross elaborated further.
“The video created was intended to highlight the negative impact [the pandemic] has had on children,” Ross explained, “and drive home the benefits of the vaccine.”
“We do believe we can better communicate this intent,” Ross continued, “and as such, we have removed the video to better address the core message of children being eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Ross added that elected officials, including Mayor John Tory, were “not involved in any way” with the project, and that it had been created by staff and other community ambassadors.
The ad in question begins with a young girl looking gloomily out the window at a bunch of her friends having fun in the yard.
“Hey mom, can I go outside and play with my friends?” she asks.
“No honey,” the mother replies. “There’s still something going around.”
“Ok,” the girl says, before resuming her somber stare out the window. The ad concludes with a message from the city that reads, “Kids should be out there. Not in here. COVID-19 vaccines available for children 6 months to 12 years.”
Other ads depict similar scenarios, with infants and children missing out on experiences and contact with others because they have not yet been vaccinated.
Vaccinating young children against Covid has not been as popular as the government and health officials assumed it would be. As the CBC reports, only about 6 percent of eligible children under five have received a jab.
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