Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, a documentary about the timing of the MMR vaccine, opened in Portland, Oregon today.
A lot of people think you should NOT see this movie. The loudest voices calling for censorship did not bother to see it themselves. Why watch a film when you can condemn its contents based on the trailer alone?
For those who think the film is “too dangerous,” as well as anyone who lives in a city where the film is not available to screen, we have a handy dandy cheat sheet for you.
Here’s what the movie is actually about.
This summary was compiled by Liz Schmidt, founder of Southern Oregon for Medical Freedom. It is the second in a 3-part series. You can read Part 1, “Watching VaxXed, Not Censoring It, Is The Hallmark of a Free Society,” by journalist Julie Akins, here.
Notes from the film VAXXED by Liz Schmidt
SYNOPSIS: In 2013, biologist Dr. Brian Hooker, Ph.D., received a call from a senior scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the agency’s 2004 study on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism. This scientist, Dr. William Thompson, Ph.D., confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final report that revealed a causal relationship between the timing of the MMR vaccine and autism. Over several months, Dr. Hooker recorded the phone calls made to him by Dr. Thompson who explained to Hooker how to access the confidential data destroyed by his colleagues at the CDC. Dr. Hooker enlisted the help of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist falsely accused of starting the anti-vax movement when he first reported in 1998 that the MMR vaccine might cause autism. In his ongoing effort to advocate for children’s health, Wakefield directed this documentary examining the evidence behind an appalling cover-up committed by the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens. Interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, and parents of vaccine-injured children in the film reveal an alarming deception that has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism, which is potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime.
BACKGROUND: The 2004 MMR study was conducted as a result of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s appearance at a science symposium on autism at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories on Long Island, New York in 2000, and the congressional review of vaccines and autism conducted by Congressman Dan Burton in front of Congress in 2000. At these events, Dr. Wakefield put forward the hypothesis that the earlier a child received the MMR vaccine the greater the risk of developing autism. Because of his testimony, the CDC was asked to do this study. Authors were Frank DeStefano, Coleen Boyle, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, William Thompson, and Tanya Bhasin. Study subjects included 624 autistic and 1824 control children.
Exhibit 1 – DEVIATION FROM ANALYSIS PLAN
The CDC’s Analysis Plan stated that data on children’s race will come from “School Records.” Thompson ran the numbers on race from this source and discovered a 2.64X or 164% increase in autism among African American children who got the MMR between 12 and 18 months vs. after 36 months. This was a highly statistically significant result. Upon discovering this correlation, the five co-authors deviated from the analysis plan and re-ran the race statistics using the “Birth Certificate” group instead. This reduced the overall number of children in the study by nearly half and lowered the statistical result to 1.89X or 89% increase, which the final paper described as “statistically insignificant.”
Exhibit 2 – OMISSION OF DATA
Example #1: The CDC omitted the 2.64X increased risk of autism in the African American children discovered in the “School Records” group. This alarming result never appeared in the final published paper.
Example #2: One of the first things Thompson did in 2001 was plot a graph with age at first MMR against percentage of children vaccinated. If there is no link between age at first MMR and autism risk, these two lines (autistic and control children) should track together, which they do until fifteen months; but then they separate and remain apart. This graph was omitted from the final published paper.
Example #3: The risk for the ISOLATED AUTISM group (children who had no other pre-existing health problems) developing autism after receiving MMR between 12 and 18 months was 700-800% higher than those who received the vaccine after 36 months. This staggering result was omitted from the final published paper.
Exhibit 3 – DESTRUCTION OF DATA
In his statement to Congressman Bill Posey, Thompson asserted: “Sometime soon after the meeting where we decided to exclude reporting any RACE effects, the coauthors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. Dr. Coleen Boyle was not present at the meeting even though she was involved in scheduling that meeting. The remaining four coauthors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all our hard copy documents that we thought we should discard and put them in the large garbage can. However, because I assumed this was illegal and would violate both FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] laws and DOJ [Department of Justice] requests, I kept hard copies of all my documents in my office and I retained all the associated computer files.”
OTHER NUMBERS IN THE FILM
1) Every 7 minutes a child in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism. By 2032, one in two children born will develop autism if something is not done to stop the current rate of increase, 50% of children and 80% of boys will be diagnosed with autism by the year 2032, according to MIT professor Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., who is interviewed in the film.
2) Mark Blaxill, the father of a daughter diagnosed with autism, Editor-at-Large for Age of Autism, a former director of SafeMinds, and a frequent speaker at autism conferences, describes how autism didn’t exist before the ‘30s. Genetic evolution takes much longer than decades; the increase from 1 in 10,000 children born with autism in 1970 to 1 in 45 in 2015 cannot be genetics; it must be environmental.
3) In 2014 there were 644 cases of measles and 1,082,353 cumulative cases of autism in the U.S. Based on a population of 320 million, measles risk is 1 in 496,894 vs. autism risk of 1 in 68.
4) Polly Tommey and her husband John Tommey tell the story of how their son Billy became autistic after MMR vaccination. Billy’s medical records showed he was developing normally and his parents saw that he was meeting all his milestones. As a baby, though, he was prescribed round after round of antibiotics for infections that would not go away. After the MMR vaccine, he was diagnosed with regressive autism. In 1999 the Tommeys started The Autism File, the first magazine ever published devoted exclusively to Autism Spectrum Disorders. The magazine acquired 45,000 subscribers in the first four months of publication.
5) The estimate for lifetime care of a child with autism is $5 million. In 2000, Congressman Dan Burton estimated the future cost to taxpayers to care for autistic children at trillions of dollars.
6) The 2004 IOM report that closed the door on research about vaccines and autism, which omitted Thompson’s findings, was cited in the Omnibus Autism decision that denied over 5,000 families compensation for vaccine-induced autism claims in Vaccine Court. This report continues to be widely cited for exonerating vaccines’ role in causing autism.
Though this is not included in the film, it’s important to note that other “studies” used to refute a link between vaccines and autism were authored by Poul Thorsen, who is on the Office of Inspector General’s Most Wanted Fugitive list for diverting over $1 million in CDC grants designated to fund these studies. In April 2011, Thorsen was indicted on 22 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering. He is currently in Denmark and awaiting extradition to the United States.
I regret that my coauthors 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 for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.
Dr. Deborah Gordon, M.D.’s opinion piece in the Medford Mail Tribune:
The main issue at hand in the movie is the reliability of the CDC. We learn of the existence of a CDC whistleblower, a member of the original team studying the safety of the MMR, who has divulged previously unavailable information about the study — information that contradicts the stated official conclusions of that study. Congress has been asked, as protectors of the health of US children, to solicit the testimony of the whistleblower. So far, no public body nor news organization has expressed an interest in hearing his testimony. Without a hearing, we don’t know if he’s delusional or brave, imaginative or brilliant, pitiable or heroic.
The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health, From Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years.
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an investigative journalist and book author. She earned her B.A. from Cornell University, her M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and her Ph.D. from Emory. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. She is also a frequent contributor to Jefferson Public Radio. Follow Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.