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Anti-Vaccination Ad Mysteriously Appears at N.Y.C. Bus Stop

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At first glance, it looked just like an official New York City public service announcement that listed the top 10 reasons people should get vaccinated against Covid-19.

But a closer reading revealed that the poster at a B43 bus stop in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn displayed 10 reasons NOT to get vaccinated. Reason No. 1: “It could kill you.”

The false and blatantly misleading anti-vaccination ad caused an uproar on social media on Thursday at a time when city health officials are pushing hard to boost the vaccination rate as a new threat from the Omicron variant looms. About 69 percent of city residents of all ages have been fully vaccinated.

The poster imitated an official vaccination ad released by the city — it used the same font, layout and even the same shade of robin’s egg blue — but conveyed the opposite message.

It directed people to go to Macabim.org, a group that describes itself as “doctors, scientists, and activists” who oppose vaccination, for more information.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for placing the anti-vaccination ad. At the bottom-right corner was a phone number purporting to belong to a company called LG Media, which says on its Instagram account that it handles advertising on bus shelters in the Crown Heights and Borough Park sections of Brooklyn.

The company, which also had a smaller and unrelated ad on the bus shelter with a different phone number, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Transit officials said Thursday that the ad had not been approved by the city or sold by the company that installs ads at the bus stops, JCDecaux North America.

Seth Stein, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation, wrote on Twitter that the anti-vaccination ad was being removed immediately.

“Most likely someone popped open the glass,” he wrote. “Investigation ongoing. Disinformation has no place in our city, or our street furniture.”

JCDecaux North America said on Twitter that the anti-vaccination ad had been placed at the bus stop in “an unauthorized manner.”

The company added: “This disinformation is unwelcome on our street furniture. We are replacing it immediately with authorized copy and will replace any other such unauthorized copy that we become aware of.”

By 1:15 p.m., a maintenance worker who declined to give his name had replaced the anti-vaccination ad with a city-approved poster that urged people to prepare for emergencies.

“Somebody must have gotten in,” the worker said.

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