The documentary, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, was thrust into the limelight after it was removed from the line-up of the internationally renowned Tribeca Film Festival. Vaxxed then went on to screen in cinemas across the US, selling out in many venues.
In Australia, the premiere screening, to be held at the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF), was cancelled.
A statement from organisers said the film’s withdrawal was due to members being “personally and professionally threatened”. Apparently, there was a bomb threat involved. Such bullying, aggressive behaviour is a total disgrace in our ‘free' country.
A second attempt to screen the film elsewhere in Castlemaine met a similar fate. It became clear the only way I would be able to see Vaxxed for myself (in the near future at least) was in the comfort of my own home.
Vaxxed is definitely the documentary they don't want you to see – even in Australia!
Unlike Australia, the United States continues to screen Vaxxed. Despite all the hurdles and roadblocks the film has faced, in mid-August, it took out the top spot for best selling documentary on Amazon.
I decided I needed not only to watch the documentary, and form my own opinion of it, but to write a Vaxxed review as well – especially as many media reports have been unfairly written by people who haven’t even seen the film.
Here is the trailer, if you haven't seen it already.
Vaxxed Review: Synopsis
Vaxxed revolves around the events that took place as a result of a series of phone calls between biologist Doctor Brian Hooker, and a senior scientist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Doctor William Thompson. The conversations began in 2013 and spanned 10 months.
In 2004, Doctor Thompson led the CDC’s study on the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, which was said to disprove any link to autism.
During the conversations (replayed in the film) Doctor Thompson suggests Doctor Hooker look at a particular data set from the MMR study. He then admits the CDC had manipulated data in their final report, which revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.
The problematic issue brought to light by the Vaxxed team is the timing of the MMR vaccine – specifically the shot given between 12 and 18 months.
The data revealed a statistically significantly increased risk of autism for children given the MMR vaccination before three years of age, suggesting something developmentally important (and therefore risky) might be occurring at around 12-18 months.
Something to bear in mind if you're Australian: there are two shots of the MMR vaccine in the 12-18 month period – one at 12 months of age and one at 18 months of age – only 6 months apart. Then there's another MMR shot at four years of age.
Compare this to the United Kingdom, where there are only two MMR shots. One given between 12-13 months, then the second at three years and four months of age.
Since vaccination schedules are based on the same research, why are we doing it so differently?
Submitting Evidence Of Fraud
Doctor Thompson engaged a whistleblower lawyer, and released an official statement about what went on at the CDC, which you can read on the legal firm’s website here.
Here's a snippet:
“I regret that my co-authors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article, published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk [164% increase] for autism”.
The final paper also omitted another finding: the risk of developing autism in the ‘isolated autism' group (a group of children who had no other pre-existing health problems) after receiving the MMR vaccine between 12-18 months was 700-800% higher than in those who received the vaccine after three years of age. So, the younger the children were when they got their MMR vaccine, the riskier it appeared to be.
Doctor Thompson handed over to Congress thousands of documents proving the allegations made in Vaxxed.
You can download some of these documents, to look at for yourself.
After reviewing the evidence, Congressman Senator Posey gave a powerful five minute speech, emphatically pleading for action. Click the play button below to view it – it's a must watch.
In the following five minute video, you can see Senator Posey sternly questioning the CDC – the most important health organisation in the whole world – about their autism research. Yet all this time later, all that can be heard from Congress is the sound of crickets.
“But What About That Discredited Doctor Andrew Wakefield?”
Despite what many people assume, Vaxxed is not all about British academic gastroenterologist, Doctor Andrew Wakefield.
The documentary came about after Doctor Wakefield (who qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001) was approached by Doctor Hooker, so it makes sense for him to be in it.
In parts of Vaxxed, Doctor Wakefield is seen discussing the beginnings of the autism-MMR link. Bear in mind there was a team behind the MMR case study – the research paper included 12 other well regarded co-authors.
Repeatedly, the film shows documents and video hearings (recorded at the time of the initial MMR controversy) where Doctor Wakefield clearly states their findings did not prove a link between autism and MMR. But because the parents who sought his help were convinced that the symptoms of autism began right after the MMR vaccinations, he was obligated to report it in the case study.
This is something we haven't seen in the pharmaceutically-funded media, who are in turn owned by those who have significant financial interests in pharmaceutical companies. They feed each other.
So What Did Doctor Wakefield Actually Say?
What Doctor Wakefield actually suggested was to separate the combined MMR vaccine (known as a multivalent or polyvalent vaccine) into three individual vaccines (monovalent vaccines), until further study can provide proof that the combined MMR vaccine is safe.
These single vaccines were available in the US and the UK at the time of the study, resulting in increased demand (however it wasn't long until the manufacturer made the decision to stop making them available that way).
This is a fair call. Shocking? Controversial? Hardly.
The previous version of the MMR vaccine was found to cause meningitis, yet the formula was still used – but in other countries, and under a different name.
That is perhaps the shocking part. But Doctor Wakefield’s suggestion sounds like something any intelligent, caring, Hippocratic Oath-bound doctor and parent would do.
“The world lost one of it’s greatest scientific minds of our time when Andy Wakefield was taken from us. This was a man who was doing studies that were going to lead to healthier vaccines and better ways to take care of the health of our children. That unfortunately was going to cost a lot of money for the vaccine industry, and they cared a lot more about their industry and their money than they did about the health of children.” – Del Bigtree, Producer of Vaxxed
But what about all the other studies that found no proof of the MMR vaccine being linked to autism?
You'll probably see the name Poul Thorsen associated with those studies. Thorsen is currently listed as a fugitive on the Office of Inspector General’s Most Wanted Fugitive list, after being indicted on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering in April 2011. He allegedly diverted over $1 million of the CDC's grant money to his own personal bank account. Thorsen submitted fraudulent invoices on CDC letterhead to medical facilities assisting in the research for reimbursement of work allegedly covered by the grants.
You can read about that here.
Our Appalling History Of Discrediting Those Whose Findings Impact An Industry
According to the dictionary, ‘to discredit' means ‘to injure the credit or reputation of; defame'. But being discredited doesn't mean you are wrong.
Once upon a time, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis was discredited and then thrown into an asylum.
Discovering when doctors washed their hands between patients, especially dead ones, fewer new mothers died after giving birth. His finding saved countless lives, and it could have saved many more, had doctors listened to him.
But his profession couldn’t entertain even the possibility they were wrong about everything they’d learned.
For those who would prefer a more recent example, there's this statement by Jay Gordon MD, a renowned pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA Medical School:
“It took fifty years before the courts finally acknowledged that cigarette smoking causes cancer. There were billions of dollars at stake. The dozens of court decisions that there “was no proof” were supported by physicians, expert witnesses of all types and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on attorneys. Experts and doctors alike stated over and over again that we need not continue studying this issue because there was just no proof. Let me state very simply, vaccines can cause autism.”
So, not much has changed. It's no wonder the general public are losing so much trust.
Being discredited means people have sought to discredit you. Perhaps people who see you as a multi million or billion dollar liability.
Ultimately, what are we taught while growing up? Surely to hear both sides of a story.
And when we do, we often realise they are very different.
In the video below, Doctor Wakefield addresses all of the common allegations made against him in the media, including allegations he was making a vaccine to compete with MMR (when he actually applied for a patent for a nutritional transfer factor) and he discusses the birthday party where he collected blood samples from children, with full consent from both children and parents (the parents were doctors too, as is his wife). So if you've heard something you're not sure about, this video likely covers it.
What Do I Think?
Vaxxed presents a very compelling and worrying case for fraud having occurred at the CDC.
What speaks many volumes louder, though, is the complete lack of action and response from those who are charged with making health decisions in the best interests of our children, rather than protecting an industry.
They have taken no proactive steps to rectify the situation, reassure the public, or fix any problems; they have simply gone on the defensive. There have been no steps to re-introduce the vaccine separately, even if only to quell the growing voices of concern. And so much of the world, it seems, is set in attack mode while we wait for answers.
A 2008 Nobel Prize winner and virologist, Doctor Luc Montagnier, who contributed to the discovery of the AIDS virus, is also featured in Vaxxed. He reiterates the belief that evidence regarding this MMR study has been hidden by the CDC all this time, and he is disappointed. Doctor Montagnier says the fraud ranks very high in the ethics of medicine and science.
Doctor Rachel Ross, a family physician of 10 years and previous co-host on the Emmy award winning show, The Doctors, said she almost fell out of her chair when she saw the documents Del Bigtree (producer of The Doctors for 6 years, but now Vaxxed producer) presented to her.
You can hear her version of events here, including her comment that other colleagues are too scared to speak out on the issue of vaccination.
In Australia, doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals risk losing their registration or licence to practice, if they question vaccines.
If you'd like to read a review written by a doctor in the United States (where free speech is much more acceptable) who is an Ob/Gyn and has a Masters in Public Health, you can do so here.
“I’ve covered this as thoroughly as any story I’ve every done as a medical journalist in my life. And the really sad thing is the amount of doctors I’ve spoken to who’ve said to me, “Del, I know that vaccines are causing autism. But I won’t say it on camera, because the pharmaceutical industry will destroy my career, just like they did to Andy Wakefield”.” – Del Bigtree
There are far too many unanswered questions, far too much censorship, and too many court cases – past and present – involving pharmaceutical companies and their handling of safety studies. We need a Royal Commission or an equivalent inquiry, once and for all.
Ultimately, the question on many people’s minds is: why would the government not want to investigate this claim, if potentially millions of children across the globe are allegedly being harmed by the MMR vaccine?
The answer probably lies in the fact that if it's proved to be true, the US compensation program could be sued for all cases of autism since the 2004 paper was finalised. Consumer trust, shareholder trust, profits, and the economy would be in turmoil.
According to Thompson, more than 1 million children have been diagnosed with autism since the 2004 study – a fact for which he admits great shame.
We are not dealing with small pockets of isolated cases, or stories being told by alternative, conspiracy theorist parents. These are parents with normal jobs and normal lives. They had their children vaccinated, and thought they were doing the right thing, until they noticed a reaction and significant change, immediately after or soon after vaccination.
All these parents tell the same chilling stories. First there was the vaccine. Then the high fever. Seizures. Vomiting. Head banging. Diahorrea. Then, once the fever broke, it was like a light had been switched off. Previously walking, talking babies who were meeting all their developmental milestones were no longer doing the things they were doing before the vaccination. No eye contact. No recognition of who was with them. Gone – just like that.
You can see for yourself the uncanny resemblance between the stories from parent after parent. They are not only in the Vaxxed documentary, but new stories are being posted daily on the Vaxxed Facebook page, and elsewhere on the web.
When you see that these are everyday, working class people, torn apart with the same sad stories, you'll probably think differently.
The Director of the CDC, Doctor Thomas Frieden, has formally blocked a subpoena for Doctor William Thompson in a case of vaccine damage. You can see the statement here.
Dr. Frieden stated “Dr. William Thompson's deposition testimony would not substantially promote the objectives of CDC or HHS.”
No surprises for someone who must have something to hide. An appeal has been launched in the meantime, so hopefully we'll have some encouraging news soon.
In addition to this massive breakthrough, a new group of 12 CDC whistleblowers have made themselves known, calling themselves, CDC SPIDER, which is short for CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research. In an article published by the Huffington Post, they were quoted as saying:
“It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests… and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. These questionable and unethical practices threaten to undermine our credibility and reputation as a trusted leader in public health.”
Every Seven Minutes, A Child Is Diagnosed With Autism In The US
How can it be natural, or a coincidence, that every seven minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism in the United States?
And if autism increases at the current rate, data shown in Vaxxed predicts that by 2032, 50% of children and 80% of boys will have autism. This poses another question: how could a society cope with such a great responsibility?
It's been estimated that the lifetime care of a child with autism costs around $5 million. In 2000, Congressman Dan Burton estimated that the future cost to taxpayers for the care for autistic children could reach trillions of dollars.
What happens when ageing parents are no longer able to care for their children? How will schools cope with the increasing rates of autism?
Whichever way you look at it, it’s not a pretty picture for hardworking taxpayers, or families who have children with autism.
What Does Vaxxed Hope To Achieve By Showing This Documentary?
Many people will have you believe that Vaxxed hopes to achieve one goal: no-one is vaccinated.
But if you actually watch the film, you will hear the four most important things the team at Vaxxed hope to achieve:
#1: For Congress to subpoena Doctor William Thompson, and investigate the CDC for fraud
#2: For Congress to repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and hold manufacturers liable for injuries caused by their vaccines
#3: That single measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine be made available separately, immediately
#4: That all vaccines be classified as pharmaceutical drugs, and tested accordingly
What is so bad about that?
Why are we being prevented from seeing a film that makes some very valid, sensible requests, and will put a decades-long debacle to rest? No matter what side of the fence you sit on the topic of vaccination, everyone should support the four important action points above. Everyone stands to benefit from the outcome.
To me, it makes absolute sense that these four things are enacted. In the face of a fast-growing movement by parents, Members of Congress, medical professionals and other authority figures, who all have serious questions, it seems to be the way to give them answers – answers which they will never stop seeking.
So why aren't they doing it?
You can only conclude it’s because they have something to hide. Otherwise they would be able to prove effortlessly that the vaccine safety activists are wrong, and the whole matter would be over.
I live in Australia, a country with no compensation plan for vaccine injury (unlike the US which has paid out $3bn of tax-payer funded compensations). Here are the four things I want the Australian government to do:
#1: Demand that Congress subpoena Doctor William Thompson, and investigate the CDC for fraud
#2: Hold manufacturers liable for injuries caused by their vaccines
#3: Make the single measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine available separately, immediately, until proven safe (or alternately update the vaccination schedule to reduce potential harm before 3 years of age)
#4: Have all vaccines classified as pharmaceutical drugs, and tested accordingly
It’s worth noting that the compensation program the US offers has paid out money in autism cases but, due to the CDC's study, claims have been denied.
There is only so much you can fit into a 90 minute documentary. I am sure there is much more to the story. Regardless, the story needs to be told. Censorship angers many people.It should anger you too.
Isn't This Film Dangerous?
No. To the contrary, isn’t it dangerous when organisations that have the power to control healthcare policy and decision-making aren't independently monitored or evaluated? And isn’t it dangerous when an organisation has so much money and power that it can appear to be untouchable?
I'm sure authorities and those with a vested interest in vaccination fear the wide scale release of Vaxxed. If more parents started to question the MMR vaccine or refused it, then it would be financially and legally chaotic for them. Perhaps, the only way to get to the bottom of the truth is for the collective voice to grow louder. Indeed, that’s all that has ever created massive change and improvement.
In the meantime, Merck, the maker of the MMR vaccine, is facing at least two federal court cases related to the mumps vaccine (which it manufactures exclusively). Two scientists, who have turned whistleblowers, claim that Merck “fraudulently misled the government and omitted, concealed, and adulterated material information regarding the efficacy of its mumps vaccine in violation of the FCA [False Claims Act]”.
Other claims include allegations that Merck “used improper testing techniques, manipulated testing methodology, abandoned undesirable test results and falsified test data”, amongst many others.
Sounds familiar? It will be if you watch Vaxxed.
The whistleblowers also claim Merck skewed tests of the vaccine by adding animal antibodies to blood samples. Yet the vaccine is still in use, while it all plays out. I believe the case is due to be heard in 2017.
Want To See Vaxxed For Yourself?
If it’s important to you to make informed decisions, I highly recommend you watch Vaxxed so you can hear both sides, rather than just the media’s version.
Those who are outside the US and Canada, or those who want a DVD copy, can buy a region 1 DVD of Vaxxed, via Amazon, for $14.99. (This is an affiliate link, meaning BellyBelly will receive a small commission on sales).
If you prefer a non-affiliate link you can click here.
In Australia? You can also get a copy from Fishpond, however it still ships from the US.
Follow Vaxxed‘s journey on Facebook here.
Thanks for reading my Vaxxed review. If you’ve seen it, I'd love to know what you think of the documentary. You can leave your comments below.