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UK bans Ryanair's 'jab and go' COVID advert

By AFP - Feb 03,2021 - Last updated at Feb 03,2021

LONDON — Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday banned an "irresponsible" advert by Irish no-frills airline Ryanair that urged customers to get a COVID vaccine and fly, using the hook "jab and go".

The television advert, which Ryanair rolled out alongside the recent start of Britain's vaccination programme, encouraged viewers to get inoculated before booking flights for upcoming holiday seasons.

The Advertising Standards Authority, which received 2,370 complaints, said viewers might wrongly conclude that one vaccine dose would be sufficient — and that social distancing and mask wearing would not be necessary following vaccination.

This was because the advert featured imagery of people who were not socially distancing or wearing masks, it noted.

"We considered this could encourage vaccinated individuals to disregard or lessen their adherence to restrictions, which in the short term could expose them to the risk of serious illness, and in the longer term might result in them spreading the virus.

"As such we considered the ads could encourage people to behave irresponsibly once vaccinated," the watchdog said.

Ryanair said it would comply with the ruling but disagreed with the "baseless" findings.

"The advert is both factual and accurate, it promotes bookings for Easter and summer 2021 on the basis that vaccines are coming, which is exactly what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed," the Dublin-based carrier said in a statement.

Wednesday's ruling comes after Ryanair this week warned it will suffer a record annual loss of almost 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) as the pandemic ravages demand for air travel.

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