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.
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.
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.