Tag Archives: Vaccination

Anti-Vaccine Movie at the Tribeca Film Festival

Apparently the Tribeca Film Festival will feature a documentary on the disgraced anti-vaccine doctor Andrew Wakefield. Unfortunately, the film is probably not discussing the history and facts on the vaccines & autism controversy. Instead, it’s likely a positive portrayal of Wakefield and similar doctors. Wakefield’s original paper asserting that vaccines increase the risk of autism was retracted several years ago after it was found that there were various ethical and methodological errors (including outright fraud), yet much of the anti-vaccine movement still doesn’t seem to have realized it yet. His supporters seem to now just be crackpots ranting about how his groundbreaking research is just being suppressed by the establishment. (If you have ever seen physics crackpots, this kind of thinking is one of the telltale signs that they have no interest in actually learning anything and only want to pontificate about their pet “theories”). Even among people who stop talking about autism, there seems to be significant fear that the vaccines are overwhelming children’s immune systems ( 1) ludicrous & 2) there is actually less exposure with more modern vaccines than with fewer earlier vaccines), among other concerns

The film festival already responded saying that their film choices are supposed to foster “dialogue and discussion.” This makes sense when there is a valid controversy. There is no known link between vaccines and autism, so there is basically one side that is doing research and showing that there doesn’t seem to be any problem, and another one that just asserts that the data is wrong. Similarly to the evolution/creation controversy, there is no academic controversy here. Worse, even if the vaccine opponents are right, it is almost certain that giving vaccines still does far more good than harm.

Get Your Vaccines!

Io9 has a chart from the CDC showing the number of measles cases in the US in recent years. There have been hundreds of cases so far this year. Many recent outbreaks seem to be associated with places (like schools) having unusually large numbers of unvaccinated people. Opposition to vaccines has been growing in recent years, with much of it ultimately due to discredited papers claiming a link between vaccines and autism. Even if that link were true (it’s not as far as anyone has been able to tell), vaccines save enormous numbers of lives every year. Vaccines don’t work for everyone, so a high vaccination rate is needed to prevent outbreaks from occurring. While one person can avoid vaccines without causing problems for everyone else, if too many do that you end up with the current situation where diseases that were nearly eradicated come back. So, in summary, get your vaccines and vaccinate your children.