Facebook Bans Anti-Vax Ads and Partners with Global Health Organizations

Facebook announced Tuesday they are prohibiting ads on the platform discouraging people from getting vaccinated. While a COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t be available for some time, health authorities recommend taking preventative measures, including getting a flu vaccine, to stay healthy. Ads discouraging the flu vaccine will be rejected globally, starting today.

Only 50.6% of Virginia residents got a flu shot, according to the last CDC report in 2018-19. As COVID continues to plague our state, doctors and public health officials are sounding the alarm about the importance of getting a flu shot this year. With flu vaccination rates remaining low, Facebook also announced today new tools to connect users to important information about the flu vaccine and identify the nearest location to receive a flu vaccination.

Starting today, Facebook users will see reminders at the top of their newsfeeds leading them to the Preventative Health tool for information from the CDC on flu vaccine administration and nearby locations. With millions of Americans still working from home, it is important to provide updated information on vaccine locations that may be different from years past.

According to the CDC, only 48% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccination last year. The CDC recommends people get their flu shot by the end of October, but the sooner people can receive the flu vaccine, the better prepared Americans and health providers will be to control a flu outbreak on top of COVID-19.

Facebook is also partnering with global health partners, including WHO and UNICEF, to increase messaging around vaccine education and to advance programs of research on vaccine communication. This announcement comes as part of Facebook’s work to help the public health industry build trust in vaccines for the long term.