The ad, posted on social media, showed a girl inside her home looking at other children playing outside, and asking her mother, “Hey mom, can I go outside and play with my friends?”
To which her mother replies,” No honey, there’s still something going around.”
“OK,” the girl responds, while continuing to look out the window with a sad expression on her face.
The ad finishes with the message, “Kids should be out there. Not in here. COVID-19 vaccines available for children 6 months to 12 years. Thank you for getting vaccinated,” with a link to the city’s information website on COVID-19.
In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times, a city spokesperson said the ad was removed because it didn’t communicate their intended message satisfactorily.
“The video’s intent, in consultation with community ambassadors involved in the City’s vaccination campaign, was to communicate with hard-to-reach communities that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children – that the vaccines are safe and effective and protect children, their families and the community,” said Brad Ross, chief communications officer with the City of Toronto.
“We acknowledge the execution of the message in the video missed the mark. We will work to ensure any future communications on this topic are clear and unambiguous.”
The ad received a large volume of negative feedback online.
“This is some sick and twisted government propaganda and manipulation using taxpayer money,” said New Blue Party of Ontario leader Jim Karahalios on Twitter.
“There’s a really dark subtext to this ad. Really, really dark,” tweeted lawyer and political commentator Ari Goldkind.
Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to less than 5 years old this month, and approved Moderna’s vaccine for the same age group in July.
Denmark has stopped vaccination for those under 18, and the UK has limited child vaccination to only those who are at a high risk due to a health condition or a weakened immune system.
Data from Public Health Ontario shows the COVID-19 death rate of those aged from 0 to 19 to be 0.6 per 100,000 people. Out of a population of over 3.1 million in that age category, the province had 19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.