Podcast 63: VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe?

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Do vaccines cause autism?

That’s the central question that’s been raging in the minds of many since Andrew Wakefield and colleagues held a press conference to discuss their controversial Lancet paper claiming to have identified a possible link between the MMR Vaccine and autistic enterocolitis.

That was in 1998.  Since then, all hell has broken loose.

VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe chronicles the story of an alleged U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cover-up of significant data purporting to show a causal link between the vaccine and autism.

Watch the Trailer here:

In 2013, biologist Dr. Brian Hooker 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.

The scientist, Dr. William Thompson, confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final report that revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Over several months, Dr. Hooker records the phone calls made to him by Dr. Thompson who provides the confidential data destroyed by his colleagues at the CDC.

Directed by Wakefield, and produced by Del Bigtree, who previously helped produce the popular TV show The Doctorsthe film examines the evidence of a conspiracy to cover-up the damning evidence the government and medical establishment doesn’t want you to know.

VAXXED tells the who, what, when, where, and why (they say) the authorities are lying to you.

WHAT DID WE THINK?

Whoo boy!  Talk about stepping into a shit-storm. We can’t think of anything more controversial than claiming the medical community, and vaccines in particular, might be deliberately harming young children and causing a pervasive developmental disorder. After all, doctors are supposed to “Do no harm”, and vaccines are designed to save lives, not destroy them.

But is there any evidence for this?

That’s the multi-trillion dollar question, because that’s likely the amount of damages the government will have to pay for the avalanche of lawsuits that will naturally follow should these allegations be true.

Unfortunately, both for the filmmakers and those suffering from autism, the case hasn’t been fully made, at least in our minds. That’s not to say there isn’t any evidence for such a connection, it’s just not enough to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a deliberate crime against humanity has been committed.

Because, if true, that’s what this is. A crime against humanity. Let’s not mince words here.

Both Adam and I have worked in education, and I’ve also worked in social services with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, so this story is very personal. We’re also no fans of “Big Pharma” and their incessant drive for profit above people. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy.  Hell, that’s what this podcast is all about.

But that said, we can’t in good conscience, say that the evidence for a grand conspiracy exists in this case.

Yet.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been conflicts of interest and incompetence on the part of the medical community. But we seriously doubt anyone deliberately set out to harm a whole generation of children. We do, however, leave open the possibility that we’re wrong.

At the same time, we feel that the persecution of Wakefield has been overblown and way out of proportion to his alleged crimes. We seriously doubt, as his detractors would like you to believe, that he deliberately set out to commit fraud to enrich himself. He seems sincere and, quite frankly, we don’t blame him for thinking there’s an orchestrated attempt to destroy his character and career. In fact, that’s exactly what happened.

So, as I state in the podcast, “What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate.” This is such a charged topic, that I feel all parties have lost their ability to honestly look at this issue rationally and objectively. Ironically, communication deficits are one of the hallmarks of autism and, it appears, we all seem to be on the spectrum somewhere when it comes to this issue.

It’s no secret that autism spectrum disorders are on the rise. And alarmingly so. Whether it’s caused by genetic factors, environmental pollutants, or a combination of both, the reality of the situation cannot be denied or ignored. And dismissing any cause, no matter how damning it might be to the powers-that-be, does not and cannot contribute to help solving the problem.

That said, though the film tries to make a good case for the vaccine/autism link, it is too one-sided and biased to be of any use to anyone who isn’t already converted to its cause. That’s unfortunate, because the jury’s still out on the vaccine link, regardless of what the naysayers and skeptics say. But what this film does do, and we wholeheartedly agree with, is demand a full hearing and investigation of it’s claims.

The fact that there really hasn’t been one should tell you something.

Links to explore this issue further (both pro and con) are provide below:

Hear This Well

Age of Autism

Brian Deer: The Lancet Scandal

How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed

Central conspiracy of the anti-vaccine movement

A Broken Trust: Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars

Statement of William W. Thompson, Ph.D.