Concerns have been raised that the anti-vaccination movement targets children through Amazonian warehouses after a Hampshire mother found a pamphlet condemning the vaccine against HPV stuck inside a children's book she purchased from the online retailer.
Lucy Boyle bought Ali Sparkes' Night Speakers along with several other novels as a birthday present for her 12-year-old son in early April. He started reading the novel last week, "took a few pages, turned the page and there was the brochure," she told The Guardian.
The leaflet warns readers that boys and girls are getting the HPV vaccine in schools, saying it is "causing injury, infertility, paralysis … ovary failure and death, among other conditions." The vaccine protects against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most of the cervical cancer strains. As the routine HPV vaccination of 12 and 13 year old girls was introduced in the UK in 2008, there has been a dramatic drop in cervical disease that can lead to cancer.
Boyle said his son "came down saying," What is it, is not it the jab I'm going to have in school? "He was worried as he had read the booklet and knew he was going to have the jab ".
"I was about to put it in the box when I thought," Wait a minute, this was well directed, it will be consciously placed in a book read by children ages 11 to 14, "she said. "This is not targeting the parents, it's targeting the kids. That really did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
She contacted Amazon and the publisher of the book, Oxford University Press, and was able to speak with one of Amazon's executive customer relations managers on the phone. He apologized, said the retailer would start an investigation and offered a gift card to Boyle. In an email seen by the Guardian, an Amazon representative wrote to Boyle: "I'm sorry to hear about the negative experience you had with your son's request. Especially considering this was a children's book and he should get the vaccine soon enough. "
Boyle said the Amazon clerk told her that although he has never heard of an anti-vaccine leaflet being placed in a book before, workers have already inserted notes on the rights of Amazon workers into titles. Two years ago, Metro reported that an Amazon worker was fired for sending a note to a Jewish client in his package that read "Uncle Adolf's Greetings." In 2018, the Daily Mail talked to a client who reported finding a note on her delivery saying "Please help, Amazon is painful!"
On Monday, Amazon reported that it had checked all of its facilities where the book was available, including where it was delivered, and found no evidence that the booklet was inserted into an Amazon site.
OUP also promised Boyle that it would investigate the situation, and emphasized the belief that the pamphlet was inserted at the end of Amazon, telling Boyle in an e-mail that "this pamphlet did not originate from OUP" and considered the situation very serious . .
An OUP spokesman said the pamphlet "is not OUP promotional material, nor has its insertion been authorized by us. In addition, our storage team adheres to the highest levels of safety, so that they meet the standards set by the aviation industry. We are not aware of any other examples of external leaflets being inserted into our books. "
Boyle said he was worried both sides would blame each other without identifying the source. "It may just be a booklet in a book, or someone might have leafed through all that batch of books … I do not see what Amazon can do if an employee comes in with a bunch of pamphlets. What is the result, that every worker is monitored? This all leaves a little Big Brother, "she said.
Last month, a Guardian investigation revealed that Amazon appears to be helping nonprofit anti-vaccine organizations in the US through the AmazonSmile Foundation, its charitable arm. And in March, Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to express his concern that "Amazon is presenting and recommending products and content that discourage parents from vaccinating their children "Quoting a CNN Business. report that found anti-vaccine books dominated Amazon's search results for "vaccine."