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Delaware Division of Public Heath apologizes for 'fat-shaming' to encourage vaccination

Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images

The Delaware Division of Public Health has issued an apology for a vaccination memo that some people believed was fat-shaming to encourage vaccination.

What are the details?

WBOC-TV reports that Delaware's health department issued an apology following the controversy spurned on by the ad.

The since-deleted ad — which was shared to the department's Facebook page — read, "Remember when you gained 10 pounds from stress eating? ... You would have to run five miles a day for a week just to lose one pound of fat."

The ad continued, "#GettingVaccinated sounds a lot easier. Protect yourself and those you love from the #Delta variant. #VaxxUpDE." Following outcry, the agency pulled the ad from its social media page and issued an apology.

Fitness experts, according to WBOC, are speaking out as the Facebook post has since been taken down.

Jennifer Kaufmann, a personal trainer at Rise Fitness & Adventure, told the station that shaming an audience into getting a vaccine will "only going to have the opposite effect."

"I personally believe in the vaccine. I am vaccinated; I still take offense to this," Kaufmann said. "I think it's just mean-spirited. It's a low blow."

Kaufmann added, "For us to look at public places and say 'This is a risk,' we are missing the whole boat here. If we are so worried about everyone's health, the gym should be the number one place everyone is going."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the agency said, "We have updated an early post promoting vaccination. We understand some were offended by the post and we sincerely apologize for our word choice. It was not intentional. DPH supports all activities that contribute to a healthy lifestyle including exercise, eating well and getting recommended vaccinations."

The department also added a graphic to its apology, which read, "Sometimes we don't have a way with words. You should still get vaccinated though."

Anything else to know?

Tara Gush, emotional wellness and integrated health coach for Soul Vikality, said that she has concerns over the agency's vaccination initiatives.

"I think one of my statements [to DPH] was 'Why are we giving out donuts and free beer to people to do something that is healthy for them but then we're giving them these unhealthy rewards in order to do that?' I just feel like it sends a really conflicting message."

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