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Movie Review: ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe’ – A Controversial Film

At the beginning of the film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, clips of TV news reports reveal a measles outbreak in Disneyland, California. These reports are tied to others that measles is "on the rise." News commentators claim that measles outbreaks have occurred probably due to the "anti-vaccine" movement. After all, no child should be getting measles in the U.S. because doctors give them the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella combined vaccine) at 15 months. The segment includes comments from the Surgeon General, doctors, and even silent Penn…

Review Overview

20=1 star, 40=2 stars, 60=3 stars, 80= 4 stars, 100=5 stars

Reviewer's Rating

Summary : Is there a link between autism spectrum disorder and the MMR vaccine? The medical community says no.

User Rating: 3.45 ( 8 votes)
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Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, CDC, Andrew Wakefield, Dr. William Thompson

‘Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe.’ Photo from the film.

At the beginning of the film Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, clips of TV news reports reveal a measles outbreak in Disneyland, California. These reports are tied to others that measles is “on the rise.” News commentators claim that measles outbreaks have occurred probably due to the “anti-vaccine” movement. After all, no child should be getting measles in the U.S. because doctors give them the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella combined vaccine) at 15 months. The segment includes comments from the Surgeon General, doctors, and even silent Penn accompanied by vocal Teller who assert that parents should not worry about MMR misinformation: the MMR is unequivocally safe. Predicated on the CDC research of the safety of the MMR and the error of the “out-in-left-field” anti-vaccine movement, the film segment concludes with a news clip that the California bill for children’s mandatory vaccination has passed.

Seeing this segment of the documentary, the audience is nonplussed. To offset wacko “anti-vaccinators,” shouldn’t there be a bill to mandate all children be vaccinated before they go to school? It is in the following segment and the rest of the film that the comforting assurance that the CDC has been protecting American children is completely upended and an alarming sequence of events is revealed to indicate that the opposite is likely.

In the second segment audio taped commentary is given by a CDC top level researcher who worked on studies of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella combined vaccine). He speaks to Dr. Brian Hooker who has an autistic child and who, we learn, as a result of his research and science background and observational evidence with his own child, for years has been troubled about the aftereffects of the MMR vaccine his child experienced. Hooker has even gone so far as to attempt to obtain the research studies on the MMR by the CDC to examine the research for himself.

Thwarted at every turn to obtain research results by the CDC, Hooker wonders if something is wrong, but only has his intuition and their lack of transparency to go on. After almost a decade, a CDC top level researcher contacts Dr. Brian Hooker. His name is Dr. William Thompson. Thompson tells Hooker that he has been wanting to confide his story for a long time. Thompson admits he is ashamed of what he, his teammates and superiors at the CDC have done concerning the MMR vaccine. As the film progresses, we learn that the CDC research found that there is a high risk correlation of the MMR combined vaccine to autism spectrum disorder. The reason why the public and medical community and Surgeon General believe it to be safe is that the negative research was destroyed and the data was skewed to make the MMR appear to be safe.

In Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, director Andrew Wakefield acutely and with clear precision unravels a chilling and heart-breaking story which goes beyond “belief” to a grave possibility of fraud at the CDC. It is a fraud revealed by one of their own, a whistleblower, who came forward at risk to his life and career and who now has received whistleblower immunity as a result of the information he is willing to provide and has already helped Dr. Hooker and others understand.

Del Bigtree, Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, CDC, MMR vaccine, autism

Del Bigtree, medical journalist interviewed in ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe.’ Photo courtesy of the film.

We learn in the film that Dr. Thompson has kept copies of the original research results which show the high risk correlation between the MMR administered at 15 months to autism spectrum disorder. The results the medical community and government officially are using have been doctored to “appear safe.” If called before a Congressional hearing (one has been proposed by Rep. Bill Posey and has yet to materialize), Dr. William Thompson is willing to be deposed and sworn under oath to testify about what happened at the CDC. Thompson has already turned over his documents and testimony to Representative Bill Posey. Posey since July 29, 2015, has implored his colleagues to hold a hearing. At the hearing Thompson would give his testimony and discuss the original research which links the MMR with autism and show how the current skewed research which the medical community uses has been made to appear “safe.”

Director Andrew Wakefield interviews experts, journalists, parents, doctors (Rachel Moss, MD, Jim Sears, MD, Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., Dr. Brian Hooker), and others. Revealed are the disastrous effects potentially associated with the MMR. Parents give testimony that after their children were vaccinated with the MMR, they variously developed a fever, some seizures, and others rashes and allergic reactions. They developed autism though the child was completely normal beforehand. The Tommy family, the Earley family, the Nanstiel family, the Roberts family, the Edwards family, and the Kain family are interviewed in the film. There were countless others too numerous to interview who have reported that their children were fine before the vaccine but had severe reactions and developed autism after having the vaccine administered to them. Indeed, according to the original research on the MMR before, according to Dr. Thompson, it was “doctored,” not only is there is a correlation of increased risk of the MMR to autism spectrum disorder, for African American males that risk is doubled.

The director clarifies what autism is through interviews with Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, who describes autism spectrum disorder and its symptoms and when it manifests. She discusses how autism rates have increased exponentially since the 1990s. This information along with parents’ commentaries is interchanged with Dr. Thompson’s revelation of his role and the role of others at the CDC who were responsible for covering up the damning research results of the MMR.

Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe, Andrew Wakefield, CDC, MMR, autism

Graph revealing a link of the MMR to autism explained by Andrew Wakefield. Photo from the film. ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe.’

With painstaking detail, the filmmakers outline the process of how Dr. Thompson and the CDC research team pressured by superiors created a situation where negative research results were pulled and destroyed. This skewed the data toward positive results which show the MMR is safe. Thompson’s shame is in knowing that changing the reports and determining the vaccine safe when the opposite is true has caused devastating harm and is responsible for autism’s rise as a result of the MMR being given at 15 months. He willingly admits to Hooker his role and the CDC team’s role in lies of omission about the MMR. And he willingly admits his responsibility and the responsibility of the cover-up perpetrated by his teammates and superiors regarding the MMR.

Because Thompson has been given immunity as a whistleblower, we realize we must not blow off what he is saying, though he is flying in the face of the medical community when he states that the CDC and his superiors and teammates perpetrated a deception that is tantamount to defrauding the public. He has done this at risk to his life and career. We wonder why since it would have been much easier to keep quiet, unless of course, he does not want to be implicated in that which will eventually be exposed. In his shame he realizes the grave moral imperative that is at stake unless something is done to pull the combined vaccine. (some suggest to give each vaccine separately or give the MMR after children are 3 years of age when the linking risk to autism dramatically decreases)

The study which was given flying colors by Dr. William Thompson and his team at the CDC is the one that doctors think is credible. Two interviewed pediatricians (Rachel Ross, MD and Jim Seers MD), indicate that they had no idea there was any risk of the MMR vaccine linking to autism.  In examining the exponential increase of autism since the combined MMR vaccine has been given, Dr. Sneff indicates that autism rates will continue to skyrocket based upon the computer math if nothing changes.

Reports in the media have assiduously decried that the CDC research on the MMR is safe. Do these reports refer to the original research that Dr. William Thompson turned over to Representative Bill Posey? Or do they refer to the research that Thompson said was doctored to show there is no link between the MMR and autism spectrum disorder? Why would the CDC with an imprimateur to “Save Lives and Protect People” allow even the risk of autism for one child without informing parents about that risk of side effects? The film raises many questions. There has yet to be the Congressional hearing about the MMR to provide the beginning of any definitive answers.

Dr. William Thompson’s CDC team on the MMR did not give testimony or interviews in the film, though attempts were made to interview them. They have remained silent. This information is presented at the end of the film along with a list of things that parents and the public can do. The film screens at the Manhattan Film Festival April 24th.

 

 

 


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About Carole Di Tosti

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is a published writer, novelist and poet. She authors three blogs: The Fat and the Skinny, All Along the NYC Skyline, A Christian Apologists' Sonnets. She contributed articles for Technorati on various trending topics. She guest writes for other blogs. She covers NYC trending events and writes articles promoting advocacy. She was a former English Instructor. Her published dissertation is referenced in three books, two by Margo Ely.
  • 1. Correlation does not equal causation.

    2. Autism claims: In the UK, the MMR vaccine was the subject of controversy. In 1998 Andrew Wakefield et al. published a fraudulent paper about twelve children who supposedly had bowel symptoms along with autism or other disorders soon after administration of MMR vaccine.

    In 2010, Wakefield’s research was found by the General Medical Council to have been “dishonest”, and The Lancet fully retracted the original paper. The research was declared fraudulent in 2011 by the British Medical Journal.

    Three months following The Lancet’s retraction, Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register, with a statement identifying deliberate falsification in the research published in The Lancet and was barred from practising medicine in the UK. Several subsequent peer-reviewed studies have failed to show any association between the vaccine and autism.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the UK National Health Service and the Cochrane Library review have all concluded that there is no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    Administering the vaccines in three separate doses does not reduce the chance of adverse effects, and it increases the opportunity for infection by the two diseases not immunized against first.

    Health experts have criticized media reporting of the MMR-autism controversy for triggering a decline in vaccination rates.

    Before publication of Wakefield’s findings, the inoculation rate for MMR in the UK was 92%; after publication, the rate dropped to below 80%. In 1998, there were 56 measles cases in the UK; by 2008, there were 1348 cases, with two confirmed deaths.

    In Japan, the MMR vaccination has been discontinued, with single vaccines being used for each disease (or in practice the vaccines are given as two doses. One a combination vaccine for Measles and Rubella MR and the other Mumps vaccine being given as a single dose). Rates of autism diagnosis have continued to increase, showing no correlation with the change.

    In the United States, famous celebrities have become anti-vaccination spokespeople. Some notable examples are: Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Donald Trump.

    3. The MMR vaccine controversy started with the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the later discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders are linked to the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The media have been criticized for their naïve reporting and for lending undue credibility to the architect of the fraud, Andrew Wakefield.

    Investigations by Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer reported that Andrew Wakefield, the author of the original research paper, had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, had manipulated evidence, and had broken other ethical codes.

    The Lancet paper was partially retracted in 2004, and fully retracted in 2010, when The Lancet’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton described it as “utterly false” and said that the journal had been “deceived.”

    Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was struck off the Medical Register, meaning he could no longer practice as a doctor in the UK.

    In 2011, Deer provided further information on Wakefield’s improper research practices to the British medical journal, BMJ, which in a signed editorial described the original paper as fraudulent.

    The scientific consensus is the MMR vaccine has no link to the development of autism, and that this vaccine’s benefits greatly outweigh its risks.

    Following the initial claims in 1998, multiple large epidemiological studies were undertaken. Reviews of the evidence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK National Health Service, and the Cochrane Library all found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

    While the Cochrane review expressed a need for improved design and reporting of
    safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, it concluded that the evidence of the safety and effectiveness of MMR in the prevention of diseases that still carry a heavy burden of morbidity and mortality justifies its global use, and that the lack of confidence in the vaccine has damaged public health.

    A special court convened in the United States to review claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program rejected compensation claims from parents of autistic children.

    The omnibus autism proceeding (OAP) is a coordinated proceeding before the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims—commonly called the vaccine court.

    It is structured to facilitate the handling of nearly 5000 vaccine petitions involving claims that children who have received certain vaccinations have developed autism. The Petitioners’ Steering Committee have claimed that MMR vaccines can cause autism, possibly in combination with thiomersal-containing vaccines.

    In 2007 three test cases were presented to test the claims about the combination; these cases failed. The vaccine court ruled against the plaintiffs in all three cases, stating that the evidence presented did not validate their claims that vaccinations caused autism in these specific patients or in general.

    In some cases, the plaintiffs’ attorneys opted out of the Omnibus Autism Proceedings, which were concerned solely with autism, and issues concerned with bowel disorders; they argued their cases in the regular vaccine court.

    On 30 July 2007, the family of Bailey Banks, a child with pervasive developmental delay, won its case versus the Department of Health and Human Services.

    In a case listed as relating to ‘non-autistic developmental delay’, Special Master Richard B. Abell ruled that the Banks had successfully demonstrated that “the MMR vaccine at issue actually caused the conditions from which Bailey suffered and continues to suffer.”

    In his conclusion, he ruled that he was satisfied that MMR had caused a brain
    inflammation called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). He reached this conclusion because of two vaccine cases in 1994 and 2001, which had concluded that “ADEM can be caused by natural measles, mumps, and rubella infections, as well as by measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines.”

    In other cases, attorneys did not claim that vaccines caused autism; they sought compensation for encephalopathy, encephalitis, or seizure disorders.[

    • tubesfilledwithcats

      ::mic drop::

    • Dr.E

      Christopher Rose -thanks for taking up so much space with your cliches and inaccuracies. You are embarrassing yourself. You need to actually WATCH THE FILM or do some proper research before outgassing uselessness.

      Wakefield’s Lancet paper, was NOT A STUDY, nor did it claim that MMR caused autism. You need to READ these things before parroting sentences you have borrowed from the media. Oh, didn’t read Wakefield’s ‘Case Series’ paper? – there was no DATA, it was NOT a study, it was based on some novel, disturbing observations and suggested further research needed to be done!

      I guess you just forgot to mention that the court of appeals in the UK found the GMC was basically WRONG in its findings and fully exonerated the authors.

      Wakefield’s observations have been verified repeatedly and the CDC study, in the film you didn’t see, confirms his initial questions and goes far beyond that by finding that children who get the MMR between 12 and 18 months have a massively higher risk of becoming autistic than if you just waited until they were three years old. This is not Wakefield… this is from William Thompson, Senior Scientist at the CDC and the guy who crunched the numbers. Thompson is telling us in no uncertain terms that the CDC threw out the data that suggested any increased risk of autism.

      Based on the fraudulent ‘doctored’ version of the study hundreds of thousands of children damaged by the MMR vaccine were denied any compensation or care by our government in the omnibus autism proceedings.

      Your characterization of the Japanese MMR practices is flawed and misleading.

      Your point above is that if you don’t call it AUTISM then you can get compensation from the corrupt ‘vaccine court’. Great how helpful.

      Christopher do some actual research and become part of the solution and not the problem. The problem that is damaging our precious children on a daily basis.

      Do it today!

      • Carole Di Tosti

        Agreed, Dr. E. I have heard Andrew Wakefield speak about this live, in person, and he also discusses this in the film. You nailed it Dr. E. Regardless of how individuals attempt to make this about Andrew Wakefield, it is about a CDC whistleblower who admitted to destroying data with his team and changing research results identifying a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Giving the vaccine, according t interviews, data, accounts in the film, is almost tantamount to playing autism roulette. Shouldn’t parents be informed of the risks, then?. The whistleblower is ashamed that he was pushed into altering research results by his superiors at the CDC because he realizes the harm that is being done as a result. If it were as harmless as you, Chris, imply, then why would a whistleblower need to come forward? Why would the CDC pressure someone to change results if the results were meaningless? No This is someone who is risking his life and career admitting a danger. This is very grave and I fear for the whistleblower who has been given whistleblower immunity. Bottom line, for CDC superiors to pressure a team of researchers to change research results because they don’t like them is fraudulent and dangerous. What is going on?

        • John Hancock

          You’re breathtakingly stupid.

          • Carole Di Tosti

            Thank you. Appreciate all comments and opinions.

          • John Hancock

            It’s a pleasure. Anti-vaxxers are such delusional, scientifically illiterate imbeciles.

          • Carole Di Tosti

            Rather than to deal with the logical reasoning referred to about the film or see the film, or understand what my review says, you have made this an ad hominem attack against me. Why? You know nothing about who I am, my being, my knowledge, my research degree, my educational experience. Yet you make a great many presumptions. And who are you? This leads me to conclude you approach everything in this fashion or you have an ulterior motive. This is problematic. How do you know the truth from a lie? If you see the film, you will understand that a whistleblower from the CDC destroyed scientific evidence he and his team found about the MMR vaccine related to autism. These scientists destroyed it because the CDC was in collusion with the companies making the MMR. In my review, I indicate what the film reveals…and how the whistleblower risked his life to reveal the cover-up. The cover-up is fraud. This is not fantasy…fraud encouraged by the CDC. Please read the review as many times as is necessary to understand what the film is about, then go and dispute the whistleblower, the doctors and the people who made the film, to their faces. Please see the film and make up your own decision about what the film reveals. You may rant on and attack me personally, but it does not stem the fact that fraud was committed according to the scientists and the scientist whistleblower in the film. A senate hearing has yet to be established to bring this before the public about the MMR which is harming children and destroying their lives. Can you understand why not? The liability issues are TREMENDOUS for the companies making the vaccine and the CDC. But why would the whistleblower risk his life and career for imbecilic fantasy? Peace out…see the film.

          • John Hancock

            Your comments and assertions have no basis in science whatsoever, no legitimate studies or empirical data to support them and you flap your ignorant gums about things you know nothing about.

  • Karen

    Finally a real review!!! If you are curious at all on what the anti vax are all about this will dispel the myths around it, and ignorant folks might stop calling them morons. Greed, corruption and incompetence, a real tale of our bought institutions, peddling corrupt science all brought to you by greedy corporations. The new American Dream ( or should I say nightmare?)Enjoy…