Vaxxed – From Cover Up to Catastrophe (Cinema Libre Studios; Andrew Wakefield, Director; Produced by Del Bigtree and Polly Tommey; USA Release Date: April 1, 2016; www.VaxxedTheMovie.com)
Film review by:
Jennifer M. Wolff-Gillispie HWP, LC
As a parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum I have always sought out as much information as possible to better understand this disorder. I've had a million questions but the most prevalent ones have always been, “How did this happen?” and “Why does it only affect some children?” Although definitive answers have been elusive, the thought that Autism Spectrum Disorder impacts our children at a rate of 1 in 45, is haunting and drives me to learn more and encourage others to do the same.[i]
When the hype surrounding the removal of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe from the Tribeca Film Festival was reported, I wondered what new questions this movie posed and what information was being disclosed that had everyone in an uproar. I took the first opportunity I had to see the documentary when it premiered in Santa Monica, California.
Directed by Andrew Wakefield and produced by Del Bigtree, the film follows several families and their very real stories of social, developmental, and neurological regression and damage only after their healthy babies received “routine” vaccinations. These heartbreaking stories, told by the parents, are utterly compelling evidence. Unfortunately, the parents’ subjective observations are mostly disregarded by the medical community, as they are not provable or quantifiable. Yet, as you listen to their testimony, you cannot help but believe in their accounts whole-heartedly. These families had to watch as their beautiful, thriving babies began losing language, avoiding eye contact, “stimming,” banging their head against the wall, developing GI problems, and having “melt downs,” and then be told there was nothing they could do.
Even more disturbing, in the documentary are the phone calls secretly recorded in 2013 between biologist, Dr. Brian Hooker and Center for Disease Control (CDC) Senior Scientist Dr. William Thompson. Dr. Thompson reveals, in regards to research done by the CDC (showing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism), that the CDC had not only omitted data from their report, but that other crucial data was either changed or destroyed. We rely on entities like the CDC to relay true and accurate information to the public; so if this revelation is indeed true, what the CDC has done is not only reprehensible and immoral, it is arguably criminal.
However stirring and thought-provoking the film was, it left me with more questions than answers. “Where is Dr. Thompson now? What did Andrew Wakefield truly discover in 1998 when he was stripped of his medical license after his MMR/autism study? What other vaccines (or combination of vaccines) could potentially have similar or other debilitating effects?” And, perhaps most importantly, I would ask “How do we get the truth?”
The film – as well as the film's website, www.vaxxedthemovie.com – calls for the following:
- That Congress subpoena Dr. William Thompson and investigate the CDC fraud.
- That Congress repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and hold manufacturers liable for injury caused by their vaccines.
- That the single measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines be made immediately.
- That all vaccines be classified as pharmaceutical drugs and tested for safety accordingly.
These “calls to action,” in my opinion, are the bare minimum. As a country and as individuals we owe it to ourselves and each other to always uphold truth and justice. The information contained in this film has the potential to change so many lives, some of which could be someone you know and love. I urge you all to see, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, and then ask your own questions.
[i] Autism Speaks, “New government survey pegs autism prevalence at 1 in 5,” November 13, 2015, at www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/new-government-survey-pegs-autism-prevalence-1-45.