Review of the Film “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”

April 2, 2016

The ProfessorI looked at the data that the CDC whistleblower was providing to Andy and Brian and it is the most compelling evidence of fraud I have ever seen in my life. I realized in that moment that I was looking at probably the biggest story of my lifetime. As a journalist, I realized it was a story I had to tell.Del Bigtree, Producer of Vaxxed from Cover-Up to Catastrophe

Practically from the opening scene, the film Vaxxed grabs our attention and doesn’t let go until it has elicited every ounce of empathy and outrage the human heart is capable of. Back in 2013, William Thompson, PhD, a senior scientist at the CDC was so wracked with guilt about his participation in a CDC study on the timing of the MMR vaccine and autism that he finally picked up the phone and called Brian Hooker, PhD, biologist and autism dad, to tell him where to look for the evidence of CDC deception. Vaxxed is the story of what followed, revealing evidence of collusion, corruption, and fraud at the very agency charged with protecting the public health.

The film was accepted by and then unceremoniously ejected from the Tribeca Film Festival after a firestorm of media attention which almost unanimously condemned the film even though not a single reporter had seen it. The media attention may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, as it has many people who haven’t investigated the topic before asking, Why? What is so special about this film that so many people wanted to kill it? And so it was that the film opened last night to a packed house at Angelika Film Center in New York City. As a long-time New Yorker, there was a particular thrill to seeing this film at this theater. Angelika is my very favorite theater in New York. I have many vivid memories of terrific and thought-provoking films seen there, while surprisingly I have no clear recollection of any films screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who started his adult life as a research gastroenterologist studying Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis at the Royal Free Hospital in London, had his career destroyed by a case series he wrote with twelve other eminent gastroenterologists and researchers back in 1998 that suggested the possibility that the severe bowel disease they were seeing in children with autism might be associated with the measles vaccine they received. Parents of eight of the twelve children in the series reported that their children had been developing normally or close to it until they received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). Scientific researchers look for patterns; they don’t spend their time and energy on random guesses out of the blue. If a researcher finds a pattern in what they’re seeing, that’s usually a good sign that there’s something there to investigate. Wakefield et al’s research was merely suggestive and didn’t draw any conclusions, but it clearly touched a nerve in some very powerful circles as this case series is used as a touchstone in virtually any argument involving vaccines and autism.

The fascinating thing to me is that the facts about this research are almost universally mischaracterized in the media to the point that we get comments from people all the time making wildly inaccurate statements like “that doctor was convicted of fraud and sent to jail!”, “Wakefield admitted he made it all up,” or “he performed dangerous and unnecessary procedures on children.” (Wakefield was not a clinician; he performed zero procedures on children, and the person who did perform most of these supposedly “unnecessary” medical procedures, Dr. John Walker-Smith, had his medical license reinstated when a judge reversed the previous GMC finding.) The whole thing would be comical if the effect of silencing debate and investigation were not having such a horrendous impact on so many children’s health.

Dr. Wakefield had already turned his efforts toward documentary filmmaking (a previous effort, Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?, is among the most affecting and thought-provoking films I have ever seen) when Dr. Hooker called him and told him what Dr. Thompson was saying. Dr. Wakefield encouraged Dr. Hooker to record the conversations without Dr. Thompson’s knowledge to ensure that there was a record of his statements in case something happened to Dr. Thompson to make him change his mind. This was totally legal as both Dr. Thompson and Dr. Hooker were in states where one-party consent is all that is required for recording. Dr. Hooker re-analyzed the data that he obtained at Dr. Thompson’s suggestion, and it was damning. The re-analysis was peer-reviewed and published in Translational Neurodegeneration in August of 2014, then later retracted when the journal received a barrage of attacks similar to what happened to the Tribeca Film Festival.

Prior to beginning the original study, there was a six-month research plan written up. The research plan was intended to make the study unassailable, unlike the CDC’s Verstraeten Thimerosal study which was riddled with problems from the outset (explained beautifully in Trace Amounts, another documentary that came out last year). But, again, researchers ran into trouble right away. When they crunched the numbers, they found two very strong associations between the timing of MMR and autism. In African-American boys, autism was 3.4 times as common in children who had received the MMR before 36 months of age than it was in children who were given the vaccine after they turned three. In addition, children who had been developing normally for the first twelve months of life and later developed autism were more than seven times as likely to have had MMR before the age of three as at later time. As Dr. Wakefield rightly points out in the film, all the children in the study were given the MMR – it was only the timing that varied – and the effects were quite strong. How strong would the effect have been if they had compared children who had the vaccine before 18 months (as is recommended by the CDC in order to be “on time”) with children who had never received the vaccine at all?

But no one knows because the CDC didn’t publish the data. Instead of publishing what they found and doing the follow-on studies that should have been performed, they set about systematically getting rid of the strong signals they had found. Instead of following the unassailable research plan, they figured out a way to plausibly dump 40% of the data by requiring Georgia birth certificates. This reduced the amplitude of the signal itself as well as the statistical power of the study, meaning that whatever signal they did find could be explained away as “not statistically significant.” Not only did they discard the data for the purposes of publication, however, they literally threw the data away. Fortunately, Dr. Thompson, realizing that this was at best unethical and at worst illegal, kept copies of all the data.

vaxxed Q&A

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree, Polly Tommey, and Dr. Brian Hooker answering questions after last night’s screening

This study was eventually published in 2004, four years after it began, and it was immediately taken to the Institute of Medicine, a supposedly independent organization, who used this study to recommend that no more investigation be done on the subject. At the time, the study was referenced in virtually every media outlet as “proof” that “vaccines don’t cause autism.” (Though any scientist worth their salt would know it was nothing of the kind even if it weren’t fraudulent.) Thompson rightfully complained to Dr. Hooker in 2013 that we had already lost 10 years of research because of the CDC’s paralysis around anything related to autism and vaccines. If that’s not enough to make your blood boil, you haven’t been paying attention.

At the beginning of 2009, five years after this study and the Verstraeten study were published, Julie Gerberding left her job as Director of the CDC to take a lucrative position at Merck, the maker of the MMR, running their vaccine division. It’s not hard to see that Merck was quite pleased with the work she did for them.

As a bystander who has watched closely as all the events in the film were taking place, I have been indignant at the wholesale ignoring of the evidence that our children have been sold down the river by powerful and cynical collusion between CDC and corporate interests. Del Bigtree, as a producer of The Doctors, an influential medical program that often received information from the CDC, couldn’t chase the story down himself when it broke, but as a journalist with a nose for a good story, he assumed that within two weeks it would break in every major news outlet. Not only did that not happen, no major news outlet has ever brought up the subject without the obvious agenda of “debunking” the story. (As a matter of fact, my fellow Thinking Mom L.J. Goes and myself are among the very few people who have ever been able to comment on the controversy on mainstream television.) This should have been Pulitzer-Prize-winning material, and yet no one was touching it. That was when Bigtree realized that all of television (and indeed the print media as well) is controlled by pharmaceutical advertising dollars.

vaxxed graphic

It is clear, both here and in the U.K., that what the respective health agencies are protecting is not children’s health, but their vaccine programs. The “collateral damage” of this policy, the broken lives of previously healthy children, is poignantly portrayed in the film by interviews with parents of affected children like Polly Tommey, another of the film’s producers, and Dr. Hooker.

I know many of the people involved in the making of the film, but one of the most potent testimonies came from a mother I don’t know. Sheila Ealey brought her African-American boy-and-girl twins to a well-baby visit where a nurse lined up three shots each, including the MMR. When her daughter reacted by screaming, Ealey was distracted and didn’t notice that the nurse accidentally gave four of the shots to her son. Ealey asked where the missing shot had gone, whereupon the nurse realized she had given Ealey’s son a double dose of the MMR. Ealey was so upset that she whisked her children out of the office without letting her daughter get the remaining vaccines. At the time of the filming, Ealey’s twins were 16 years old. While her daughter speaks three languages, plays classical piano, and is an honor student, her son sits next to her on the couch happily watching Blue’s Clues on his iPad. Ealey’s tears as she contemplates the the stark contrasts in her twins’ development and what her son lost forever at that well-baby visit will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Perhaps my favorite part of the film is when Bigtree goes back to some of his old colleagues from The Doctors, where he worked for seven years before leaving to help make this film. Bigtree presents the documents to family medicine practitioner Dr. Rachael Ross and pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears, who are both cheerfully and confidently “pro-vaccine” (as always, I find myself irritated by the ridiculous premise that attitudes around a nuanced subject like vaccines can be reduced to the binary states of “pro-vaccine” and “anti-vaccine) before reading them and both visibly shaken by what they have read afterward. When Bigtree asks what Dr. Ross would say to the next parent who comes into her office asking about the MMR, she says she would tell the truth. She will not be giving it her own children (Dr. Ross had a baby girl in November of 2015), and she worries about what we are doing to children’s brains.

Indeed. She is by no means alone in that.

The Filmmakers' Agenda

The Filmmakers’ Agenda

I recently watched the movie Spotlight about how journalists at the Boston Globe uncovered the tremendously damaging way that the Catholic church was handling sexual abuse charges against their priests. The journalists were blocked time and again by people willing to collude with the church in denying what they clearly knew was happening, but that just made the journalists more determined than ever to get to the truth. They were finally able to publish enough of the truth that they made it impossible for the Catholic church to continue institutional policies that allowed children’s lives to be destroyed.

Because of the current stranglehold that pharmaceutical dollars have on mainstream media, this story is even harder to get out. Just as in that situation, a powerful interest group is working day and night to suppress the facts — they know children’s lives are being destroyed by their policies and they just don’t care. Fortunately, the filmmakers of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe know that, in this era of increased communication and transparency, mainstream media censorship can only postpone the truth getting out, not prevent it. So they threw their hearts, minds, and souls into this film as a way of circumventing that censorship. And they did a damned fine job of telling a difficult story that needs to be told.

Now it’s your turn to do what you can to get the message out there. See the film. Share information about it on Facebook and Twitter. Encourage everyone you know to see it — especially if they are not already familiar with the facts. Just like the journalists at the Boston Globe did, let’s make it impossible for this powerful organization to continue those policies that are sacrificing children’s lives to some bizarre conception of the Greater Good.

~ Professor

For more by Professor, click here.

Pin It
This entry was posted in Blogs by Thinking Moms' Revolution, Professor TMR, Vaxxed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Review of the Film “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”

  1. anonymous says:

    My daughter who was developing normally and even ahead of schedule for most her milestones showed signs of Autism after receiving the MMR vaccine at 16 months. By age two see was officially diagnosed. Since then we have had her blood tested and she has 15 times the recommended aluminum in her blood stream (most vaccines contain large amounts of aluminum in Thimersol especially the MMR). When aluminum crosses the blood/brain barrier and it can disrupt electrical signal in the brain. She also had digestive issues, allergies, and auto immune problems that were not issues prior to the vaccine. She lost speech at the time and regressed in her development until we started therapy after her diagnosis. I tell everyone that labels anyone who label those who question the status quo as an “anti-vaxxer” to do they own home work. Watch this movie form you own opinion. There is so much money and potential liability at stake that a cover up is impossible? I think most people are afraid to believe the government might be lying to them.

  2. Marcia Hinds says:

    Thank you Zooey for this wonderful article. I have admired you and all you do for the cause for a long time!

  3. Robin says:

    Thanks for a great review xx

  4. DC says:

    I posted above about my baby and his horrible reaction to vaccines, which led to Autism. What I didn’t share was the fact that I actually have 7 vaccine injured in my family. Myself, 2 sons, my brother, niece, aunt and cousin were all injured by them. We experienced fever, cellulitis, eye nerve damage, hearing loss, tendinitis, convulsions, encephalitis, and death (muscle wasting) – we all had different reactions. Come to find out these were all listed as side effects to the drugs we were given. I had to find the vaccine package inserts online because they are not required by law to discuss the side effects with you! My brother is permanently disabled and a well known hospital in Boston actually put it in writing that his condition was caused by his vaccines (keep in mind he didn’t have any for 4 years before getting sick). Thank you for reviewing this documentary. I cannot wait to see it!!

  5. Thank you Professor for this excellent review of Vaxxed! I was beginning to wonder if other reviewers had seen a different version of the film than I did. I also attended one of the sold out showings where the filmmakers received a standing ovation; and I can honestly say that your very comprehensive review is right on; even down to your analogy (one that I have often made myself) to the scandal within the Catholic church, as depicted in the movie Spotlight. Thanks again!

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      You are very welcome, Jeanette! One thing we have to keep in mind: most of the reviews we see will be printed by the very same mainstream media outlets that are kept alive by pharmaceutical advertising dollars — the same mainstream media that is INDICTED in the film by journalist/producer Del Bigtree. They dropped the ball on the biggest story of our lifetimes. In other words, they will have a VERY good incentive to do what they can to destroy this film. The truth will not be allowed within 50 miles.

      • As much as big pharma and mainstream media will try to destroy the credibility of this film, a verse from a “very old book” reminds us . . . “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” – Luke 8:17 — God bless Del Bigtree, Dr. Wakefield, Dr. Hooker, Polly Tommey, the entire Vaxxed team, Congressman Posey and even Dr. Thompson, for bringing this issue “to light.” Now it is up to us to keep that light burning.

  6. Marcia Hinds says:

    Thank you Professor for writing this. And thanks to all of those involved in this important film, who have continued to fight to bring the facts and truth to the world. DOCTOR Wakefield (you will always be “THE DOCTOR” to us), Del Bigtree, Luc Montagnier, Jim Sears, Stephanie Seneff, Mark Blaxill and everyone else who made this film possible are our heroes!

  7. Hans Scholl says:

    Very good work from Stephanie Seneff

    https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/2015/AutismOneMay21.pptx

    Did I hear it correctly ?
    The latest Stephanie Seneff (MIT) Autism projection :
    By 2032 80% of all US males will be autistic . (just 16 years away)
    Did I hear this correctly ? Not Hg-enocide they say ?

  8. Martha Young says:

    Thank you for your review. Makes me want to see this film all the more. MMR changed my son forever. Doctors I deem wise and trustworthy recommend separate measles, separate mumps, separate rubella vaccines. I’m wondering how receptive pediatricians will be to this.

    • DC says:

      I hate to say this, but my son developed Autism and he never even had the MMR. He only had the DTaP, HIB, and IPV. However, I did receive a Rubella vaccine 3 days after having him and nursed him. Dr. Edward Yazbak did his own studies on Autism and the Rubella vaccine. My baby did experience fever, cellulitis, convulsions, and encephalitis from these 3 shots. These doctors who separate vaccines are ignorant….those who are genetically susceptible will still develop the condition. Read “Fear of the Invisible” by Janine Roberts to find out what else our health officials are hiding from us with regard to vaccines.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Personally, I think that we have reached a place where we are hyper-stimulating these poor children’s immune systems SO much, so frequently that individual shots will not solve much of the problem. There are too many other environmental components that are priming the kids who can’t detoxify. The only way it would make a significant difference is if people chose fewer shots (like JUST the measles component, for instance, or JUST the pertussis component) and gave them much later than they do now.

  9. thankyou thankyou thankyou, keep going your support is only going to grow then watch what happens,

  10. Race says:

    So thankful to all those courageous and committed individuals who won’t back down or give up. Your work is so important. Our childern are suffering unnecessarily. The truth must be told.
    I have so much respect and gratitude
    Thank you
    Looking forward to seeing the movie.I will bring a box of tissues

  11. Jean says:

    I am a mother and a grandmother and I care about my family. I am also a healthcare professional who has been told, since way back when, to ensure that everything I do is evidence based. When I heard about Andrew Wakefield’s paper being withdrawn from publication I wanted to read it for myself. Until recently this was impossible. I have now read it and can only say that Andrew Wakefield did a study and documented his findings. If I remember rightly he stated there may be a link between autism and the combined vaccine mmvac. He suggested that this needed to be looked into further…..and for this he was crucified.
    I would like to see ‘Vaxxed’ but chances are it won’t get a viewing here in Australia. One can only hope that I will be able to download it for home viewing. I am quite happy to pay to see it at home and then make up my own mind about things.

  12. Jos says:

    Great review, thank you. I am so pleased people will see this film.

    I am familiar with the back story on this as I read everyday on this subject. TMR seem committed to the view its all about the Pharma companies and I do not share that view. Governments are entirely at the centre of this, the US is the lead. To ignore that denies the scale of the problem we have. This is about all vaccines and forced medication and it is about population control and it greatly impacts the weakest in society. It is far more sinister that any of us would like to believe. Although I agree its great to target Pharma, that is only part of the story. The CDC is government, and government censorship of the media is the limiting factor imho.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      TMR seem committed to the view it’s all about the Pharma companies? Certainly not. The FDA approves every vaccine and the ACIP “recommends” them for the vaccine schedule. Those are governmental bodies. In addition, they aren’t “required” in any state until a state legislature passes a law saying so. It’s about the corrupting influence that the profit motive has on people, whether they are the ones who MAKE the vaccines or the ones who are in a position to PUSH them onto an unsuspecting populace. None of this would be as bad as it is, if the United States Congress did not remove all liability from vaccine manufacturers for the harm done by vaccines in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. These are facts we FREQUENTLY point out. In addition, this film is about malfeasance at the CDC, also a governmental agency. I don’t know how you can even imply that we ignore the fact that at least half of the problem (if not much more) is governmental collusion.

  13. Nicole says:

    My son showed signs of stimming at 6 months old, non verbal shortly after he turned one. He didn’t get his MMR until he was 15 months. Just saying.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Nicole, no one has ever said that MMR causes ALL autism. No one. Ever. As a matter of fact, the Verstraeten study I mentioned above was about the effect of Thimerosal in vaccines, and HIS first analysis showed an even STRONGER correlation between early high exposure to Thimerosal and neurological conditions such as autism. http://www.safeminds.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/GenerationZeroNotes.pdf In addition, there are many other environmental factors that contribute to overall risk by increasing children’s toxic loads. None of that has any bearing on whether or not MMR is the final straw that triggers autism in many children. Just as the fact that my father who never smoked a day in his life died of lung cancer has any bearing on whether or not smoking causes lung cancer.

    • Jodi says:

      Mine was the same. Showed early signs well before mmr. I am sure there are mint environmental factors. Let’s face it we are killing this planet but I am not comfortable with keeping kids unvaccinated either. I do believe they help many people and protect many with compromised immune systems. I believe timings need to change but not vaccinating is not the answer either.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Not vaccinating is not the answer for YOU, but it is most definitely the answer for many. Many people’s immune systems will be negatively affected by ANY vaccine. How can it be either ethical or moral to force someone to “protect” someone else from illness by inducing it in themselves?

  14. Jess says:

    The Truth Is Out There!

  15. Cougar Team TMR says:

    I cannot wait to see this important film. Thank you, Professor, for your review. The truth will prevail.

  16. nocposts says:

    Thank you. Yes, they can only plug the dike for so long. Looking forward to seeing the film tonight!

  17. Nick says:

    I was lucky to see the film at one of their sold-out screenings in New York. It is deeply moving and informative. Like many people, there was a time when I knew nothing more about vaccines than: you got them without question, they prevented you from getting serious illnesses, and they were safe. Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that very intelligent and caring people like you and the makers of this film have legitimate points that must be addressed if we are to reverse the trend toward higher incidents of immunity related disorders, including autism.

    I hope that this film will get more people, including the media, to take a second look at the risks inherent in vaccines, and begin to have a meaningful dialogue about the future of the vaccine program.

    • cathi d says:

      Nick – how many people were in the theatre last night? I read a negative review that said the theatre was just about empty?

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        That is an absolute lie. The showing was sold out, and the theater was packed. The filmmakers received a standing ovation from the audience. IF there was a showing with so few people, it was the one at 11:00 in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to a number of films at that hour of the morning, and none of them have been packed.

      • Nick Ryall says:

        Yes that scathing report saying only 20 people turned up to the premier was suggested on my facebook feed, utter troll reporting, Abby Haglage of the daily beast, what a liar , after all the publicity this has had, i’m sure it will be packed all week

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *