Documentary is called, “Vaxxed: From cover-up to catastrophe”
Analyze the documentary, “Vaxxed: From cover-up to catastrophe”
Relationship between MMR Vaccines and Autism
The major concern for new parents is to make the right choice for their new born babies. Precisely, these parents grapple with many choices in life including whether to vaccinate or not. The first set of vaccines are often administered after birth. However, this topic has elicited heated debate among the pundits on whether there exist a causal relationship between measles, mumps, as well as, rubella (MMR) vaccines and autism. On one side, anti-vaxxers such as Andre Wakefield believed vaccinations violate human rights and cause more harm than good. They contend that there is a strong relationship between MMR vaccines and autism, as well as, other brain disorders although there is no scientific evidence supporting such claim. The anti-vaxxers have further claimed that MMR vaccines may predispose to behavioral regression, as well as, pervasive development diseases in children. However, supporters of vaxxers have maintained that MRR vaccines and autism do not relate and that there is need to vaccinate children. They have attested that vaccination safeguard children against numerous diseases. Against these divergent opinions, MMR vaccines and autism do not relate and therefore children should be vaccinated to prevent them from harm and other fatal diseases that spread faster.
The film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe is a scientific documentary that argues that there is a relationship between MMR vaccines and autism and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is covering this truth. The movie accuses the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of failing to conduct a proper safety testing and turning a blind eye to risks posed by the vaccine. A critical claim of the film is that autism is an epidemic that CDC continues to cover up. It explains that in the past, diseases with reduced prevalence rates than autism have been regarded as epidemics across societies and that the CDC is attempting to reduce an autism epidemic. It challenges an allegation that sharp increase in autism rates in the recent past is linked to the broader definition of autism. According to the film, CDC and other relevant healthcare agencies have included Asperger’s in their testing and that autism continues to be a major epidemic across the US. Secondly, the film claims that aluminum in the vaccines contributes to the development of autism in children and that CDC has failed to take any step towards that. However, this claim was opposed by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center that maintains that the amount of aluminum in vaccines is relatively small and that aluminum in vaccines have not been implicated in children health challenges. The film also claims that glyphosate is presence in the vaccines and contributes to children becoming autistic.
A major misconception regarding vaccinations that circulated among the anti- vaxxers community including Andre Wakefield in his film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe is that vaccinations can create physical and mental impairments across the life of children who take such vaccines (DeStefano 726). This argument was further supported by findings of a study by Jain et al. that reported that the children with the most behavioral and health challenges, particularly asthma, allergies, autism, ADHD, coordination among others are the ones that are on the right direction with their vaccination plan (2015). These findings together with arguments postulated by Andre Wakefield further revealed that vaccinations are at fault for contributing to the development of the conditions such autism. However, these arguments, especially those in the film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe have been debunked by various scholars. Precisely, Foster and Sarenna in their study maintained that the claim that a vaccination can result in mental conditions such as autism is absurd. Similarly, Mercurio provided clear evidence that vaccinations cannot cause any of the health conditions discussed above (2017). Reportedly, the risk of asthma has remained relatively lesser in toddlers who receive diphtheria-tetanus pertussis (DTP) vaccine oral polio vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae vaccine, MMR vaccine or hepatitis B vaccine as opposed to children who fail to receive these vaccines. Many studies have also proved that toddlers who strictly followed their vaccinations schedules did not have a greater risk of developing asthma as compared to those who never adhered to their vaccination schedules. In a study to examine controversies surrounding the US vaccine safety DeStefano established that there is no relationship between the receipt of childhood vaccines and food allergies or asthma (726). Similarly, medical studies have been conducted to debunk inaccuracies presented in the film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe. For some reasons, the film claims that aluminum and glyphosate are present in the vaccines and they contribute to the development of autism in children. However, there is no scientific evidences to support such claims and therefore, it is believed that anti-vaxxers arguments are fallacious.
In his article, Gilbert contented that it is difficult to understand reasons why wrong beliefs are rapidly transmitted from one mind to the next. He maintained that false beliefs such as undesirable genes can become super replicators (Gilbert 178). This implies that wrong beliefs can prevail in the belief transmission game in case they relatively foster their personal means of transmission. In such a situation, the transmission means is not sex but communication and therefore any belief whether false that improves communication has the potential of being transmitted for long. Gilbert explains ways in which communication is important in ensuring that the belief is transmitted continuously to other people, eventually spreading into internet articles or blog posts and this is the same thing that happened to anti-vaxxers and their theories (Gilbert 178). To perpetuate their claim that MMR vaccines cause autism, the anti-vaxxers such as Andre Wakefield created blog posts, Facebook pages, articles, social networking accounts and others to hoodwink people that MMR vaccines are responsible for several cases of autism experienced across the US societies. As evident in the film, Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe, Andre Wakefield developed shared his views on different social networking sites for many people to read and see, thus attracting a bigger audience and gaining a solid support base. However, the bitter truth is that as many people continue to support anti-vaxxers arguments by opposing the vaccines, the more the fatal diseases that initially were becoming extinct continue to reappear. For instance, World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a warning that reported an increase in the cases of measles across many countries because of their negligence to vaccinate children (Gilbert 1534). This report revealed that most of these countries experienced severe outbreaks of preventable illness, especially measles and that the outbreaks have been attributed to the negligence or refusal of parents to vaccinate their children, making the children to continue getting infected and suffering. These findings concur with those of Mercurio that revealed that reported 36 children developed chickenpox in a society that had the greatest rate of vaccination exemptions for religious beliefs (90). According to the study, bad science and bad decision made people to people not only reject the vaccination because of their religious beliefs but also due to several blog posts that misinform them and made them to literally subject their children to risk. Given that these deadly diseases are reappearing and affecting millions of people across the world, arguments concerns raised in the film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe should be disregarded and urgent and compulsory efforts to vaccinate children be instituted to protect countries from the risk of losing years of progress in safeguarding communities and children against this devastating but preventable diseases.
Contrarily, it can be argued that vaccinations can cause minor disabilities that are witnessed in children later in their lives (Pope et al. 1). For instance, New Jersey parents alleged that their child who was growing normally was diagnosed with autism shortly after MMR vaccination was administered to him. The parents believed that MMR vaccine was the major cause of the autism diagnosis and that many parents have had similar experiences and believe that their miseries were caused by MMR vaccine. A similar story happened to a delightful child who according to his parents active and had the best childhood development. However, after his 15th month checkup, the toddler received three vaccines including MMR vaccine. However, few days after getting the vaccine, the child’s behavior changed drastically. The child could no longer sleep normally. The parents visited many pediatricians and speech therapists and received developmental assessment to establish the problem with their child. Sadly, the child was diagnosed with autism. However, as convenient and coincidental as it may appear, blaming the vaccines for issues that could be in the children’s genes since birth is unnecessary. Similarly, in the film, Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe it is argued that MMR vaccines contributes to autism. According to the film, MMR vaccines contain aluminum and glyphosate that contribute to the development of autism in children. While these claims have been refuted vehemently by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center, much research and analysis ought to have been conducted on the same. While many empirical studies have proved that there is no relationship between vaccinations and autism, no study has examined how aluminum and glyphosate that are present in vaccines affect human growth and development. As a fact, studies have only revealed that substances such as thimerosal does not cause ASD. However, a scientific study conducted by the IOM concluded that there exists no causal relationship between thimerosal containing vaccines and autism. Based on these findings, I believe that claims presented in Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe are fallacious since no relationship exists between MMR vaccines and autism. All the results of empirical studies have revealed that everything that anti-vaxxers contend are fallacious and should be pulled down from various blog posts and other social networking sites where they were published.
In the film, Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe claimed, Wakefield claims that there exist a causal relationship between MMR vaccines and autism. According to the author, there are many children with adverse reactions because of the MMR vaccines they received while young and that no one including CDC has taken liability for these cases (Pope et al. 2). He further claims that the US government continues to give companies producing these vaccines immunity for litigation for the vaccines and make it difficult to sue them. The sad part is that CDC lacks the quality control and hardly assists those suffering from the disease due to the immunity. Moreover, despite these detrimental effects of the MMR vaccines, CDC has not taken any legal action against the companies producing these vaccines for the adverse reactions or deaths brought by the vaccines. Other scholars such as Jain et al have maintained that had these children not vaccinated, they could have had perfect development and good life (1534). As revealed in the study, the CDC clearly understands that there exist a strong relationship between vaccines and autism but they continue to advise parents to inject their toddlers following the CDC schedule. These actions make people to believe that is a causal relationship between autism and vaccinations. For instance, Pope et al. maintained that numerous scholars and scientists such as Wakefield are whistleblowing and talking and of the CDC and other relevant agencies addressing the concerns raised by these individuals, punitive measures are taken against them (1). For instance, instead of countering the allegations raised by Wakefield on the film From Cover Up to Catastrophe regarding the adverse effects of MMR vaccines, the US government in collaboration with the CDC withdrew his license and was barred him from practicing. He exposed the facts and for this reason, his license was revoked.
In conclusion, vaccinations is important since it safeguards people from harm. They also save lives by preventing deadly diseases from spreading further. However, arguments raised in the film From Cover Up to Catastrophe are fallacious since no empirical evidence has been provided to show that MMR vaccines. Anti-vaxxers such as Wakefield believed in wrong thing and transmitted to the minds of others based on the conspiracy rather than evidence, especially in the case of MMR vaccines where may lives could be lost. This is a dangerous move and can lead to many controversies and uproar within the community. Generally, the anti-vaxxer theories have been disapproved by many researchers and should be rejected across the world. Essentially, Wakefield was found culpable to intentional fraud and the several medical journals have been published regarding that fraud. Clearly, the author of the film From Cover Up to Catastrophe received financial benefits from this unethical act on the causal relationship between MMR vaccines and autism. Considering the current studies that have been conducted, it is evident that there exist no causal relationship between MMR vaccines and autism. The reasoning is that there is no study that have provided empirical findings or evidence to support this causal relationship and no scientific model exists to explain ways in which MMR vaccines can cause autism.
DeStefano, Frank, et al. “Principal Controversies in Vaccine Safety in the United States.” Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 69, no. 4, Aug. 2019, pp. 726–731. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1093/cid/ciz135.
Foster, Craig A., and Sarenna M. Ortiz. “Vaccines, Autism, and the Promotion of Irrelevant Research: A Science-Pseudoscience Analysis.” Skeptical Inquirer (2016).
Gilbert, Daniel. “Reporting Live from Tomorrow.” Emerging: Contemporary Readings for Writers. ed. Barclay Barrios, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016. pp. 178-197.
Jain, Anjali, et al. “Autism Occurrence by MMR Vaccine Status Among US Children With Older Siblings With and Without Autism.” JAMA, vol. 313, no. 15, 2015, p. 1534., doi:10.1001/jama.2015.3077.
Mercurio, Cameryn. “Mercury’s Toxic Process: How Bad Science and Bad Decisions Caused a Public Health Crisis.” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, vol. 44, no. 1, Jan. 2017, pp. 83–113. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sur&AN=122437617&site=eds-live&scope=site.
Novella, Steven, et al. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake. Hodder, 2019.
Pope, Sarah Pope MGASarah, et al. “Six Reasons to Say NO to Vaccination.” The Healthy Home Economist, 5 June 2018, www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/six-reasons-to-say-no-to- vaccination/.