The new documentary Vaxxed delves into the controversial waters of vaccines and autism. However the film’s producer Del Bigtree, a Boulder native, insists that the film does not promote an anti-vaccine message.
The film features a former Center for Disease Control scientist Dr. William Thompson, who accuses the CDC of omitting information from a study on the connection between autism and the MMR vaccine.
“All this film does is ask all the appropriate questions that anyone should have when we have someone as high up in our health agency, at the CDC, making the claims and backing them up with this data.”
The presence of Andrew Wakefield as the director of the film has drawn wide criticism. Wakefield, the British former gastroenterologist and medical researcher, is known for his now-discredited claim that there was a link between the administration of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and autism. Wakefield was struck off the medical register and has been criticized for panicking parents and leading to a decline in MMR vaccination rates. Bigtree says Wakefield’s involvement gave him pause for thought before he got involved, but it lead him to investigate the issue further.
“When I was working at the Doctors television show (where Bigtree was a producer) and I found out that Andy Wakefield was the one working on this I had to investigate that story too..what happened at the Lancet paper.”
Bigtree says Wakefield was unfairly criticized for his study and he claims that the former doctor has never been anti-vaccine. “Andy Wakefield was never anti-vaccine, he’s still not anti-vaccine and this film is not anti-vaccine.”
Rather he says, Wakefield’s message and the message of the film is that people should ask more questions and should demand more research into the safety of vaccines.
The film maker says that one of the biggest issues in the vaccination debate is the conflict of interest at the Center for Disease Control. Deltree says the CDC’s job is to promote vaccines but it is also charged with testing the safety of them. He is calling for an independent testing agency.
“What this film proves is that the testing body, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has failed the American public and they’ve failed the world. What we want to see happen is not an end to vaccines, what we want to see is a truly independent testing body created just like the National Transportation Board, that investigates the safety of vaccines. ”
Deltree says there has been a colossal loss of trust on the part of the American people in regulatory authorities in the US. He says that trust needs to be restored.
“Parents have every right to not to trust the system now, this movie is not going to help the trust of that system, but instead of panicking we have to do what’s right and we have to have our legislators and our state government say ‘you know what, we’re going to begin actually testing these vaccines with a new body that we can trust’.”
Vaxxed will be screened on Thursday August 18th at 7pm at the Unity Church of Boulder, 2855 Folsom Street, followed by a Q and A with Del Bigtree.