An alarming public health misinformation campaign against the COVID-19 vaccines appeared today in a bus shelter at Carroll Street and Kingston Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

While the advertising space is overseen by JCDecaux and the Department of Transportation, the latter has suggested the poster did not go up through official channels and was never approved.

"Street furniture will not promote vaccine disinformation in our city," the DOT tweeted after a photo of the ad went viral. "This poster is coming down today. Our franchisee didn’t sell this ad, and it’s possible that someone pried open the glass casing. We’ll continue to investigate and share more information as soon as we can."

JC Decaux said in a statement that they also were unaware of the ad before it appeared: "JCDecaux became aware of an anti-vax creative placed in one of our NYC bus shelters in an unauthorized manner," they tweeted. "JCDecaux did not approve or install this message, which violates the advertising program guidelines & deprives the lawful advertiser of their ad space." They add that they will be replacing the ad "with authorized copy and will replace any other such unauthorized copy that we become aware of."

The unauthorized ad, which includes language that seems specifically targeted toward an Orthodox Jewish audience, was made to look just like a pro-vaccination ad created by JOWMA (Jewish Orthodox Women's Medical Association), which you can see below.

A pro-vaccination flyer made by the organization JOWMA

A pro-vaccination flyer made by the organization JOWMA

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A pro-vaccination flyer made by the organization JOWMA
JOWMA

MTA spokesperson Tim Minton noted that the MTA is not in charge of bus shelters in a statement, "though we would prefer not to have objectionable messages marketed to our customers, we have no power to manage content for these facilities, which are controlled by the City of New York. We appreciate NYC DOT announcing it will remove ads that spread disinformation during a public health crisis.”

It's suggested that if you spot this or a similar campaign you should report it to 311, though in this case, tweeting about it seemed to speed up the process of removal.

JC Decaux adds that you can report any other sightings of these or similar anti-vaccination posters to customerservice@jcdecaux.com.