Controversial vaccination film pulled from festival

Organisers have removed it from the lineup after widespread criticism including from the AMA

Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, directed by Wakefield, was to be screened in early October as part of the Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF) based in Victoria.

After learning about the screening, Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Michael Gannon had called for the movie to be withdrawn due to its association with discredited former gastroenterologist and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield.

Wakefield was struck off the British medical register in 2010 after being found guilty of “serious professional misconduct” while carrying out research into a possible link between MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism.

“I think that film festivals are a wonderful bit of art and part of their job is to challenge us and to be edgy, and occasionally seek controversy. But I would say to [festival director David Thrussell] that even small pockets of people who choose not to vaccinate their children, there is a cost to be had there,” said Dr Gannon.

“One, two, three per cent reductions in vaccination rates harm children. They put them in intensive care, they kill them. This is not scare-mongering. It is so important to maintain vaccination rates well above 90%. It’s irresponsible to do anything that might threaten the public’s health.”

After receiving widespread criticism following Dr Gannon’s comments, CLIFF has decided “with utmost regret” to withdraw the screening of Vaxxed from its lineup.

The group put out a statement saying that since announcing its screening, the festival “has suffered a campaign of highly co-ordinated abuse and intimidation”.

“It has come to the point where members of the CLIFF team feel personally and professionally threatened. This is unacceptable,” says the group.

“It is a sad reflection on the state of Australian democracy that legitimate questions cannot be raised in a public forum without inciting a campaign of ill-informed and dishonest intimidation.

“What can’t be contained, however, is people’s desire to see the film and, given this controversy, that will eventually happen in much greater numbers.”

The CLIFF team disagrees with Dr Gannon that putting out the film is dangerous to public health.

“A film festival screening, and the accompanying discussion arguing the merits of both sides, is an important contribution to presenting information about this issue so the public can make an informed judgement,” they wrote in their statement.

“Unfortunately, at this time, Australians will no longer have the opportunity to make that judgement for themselves.”

However Dr Gannon’s response people getting information from the documentary was clear.

“Not when it’s made by a charlatan, not when it’s made by someone who’s been entirely discredited by the scientific world, the medical world, someone who was struck off the medical register for having harmed people and been seen as being a danger to the community. That’s not the kind of person I’d be getting my scientific information from,” he said.

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  1. lbhajdu1 .

    Lets have a boring film festival and remove all controversial films. In fact why bother having a film festival at all. I vote we only show government health announcements and draft a board to rename the “film festival” appropriately. Free thinking and independent films suck anyway government health announcements are the future.

  2. Karl Landers

    “…abuse and intimidation”.
    “…personally and professionally threatened.”
    “It is a sad reflection on the state of Australian democracy that legitimate questions cannot be raised in a public forum without inciting a campaign of ill-informed and dishonest intimidation.”
    Why is the medical field so opposed to discussing openly any matters that challenge orthodoxy and especially vaccines? If anyone questions anything related to vaccines they are labeled as stupid, as quacks, as dangerous, as blind, as selfish, as nutters as…well the list goes on. This flies in the face of medical advancement and is medieval in its approach. Whatever each of us believe is right or wrong one statistic is undeniable – 1 in 50 children in the US are now on the autism spectrum and this is getting EXPONENTIALLY worse. ‘Something’ is going on. Stop the ‘them and us’ mentality. We must all collaborate to find a solution to reverse this disastrous statistic whatever the reason…the future of our children depend on it.

    • Castlemaine63

      Karl, you assume David Thrussell is not a pathological liar. Well he is one, and any intimidation, abuse or threats is his invented conspiracy to deflect from his poor judgement. Note that he hasn’t provided any details. As a conspiracy theorist, Thrussell uses conspired victimhood in a weak attempt to avoid scrutiny.

  3. Jan Jackson

    The zombiefication of the world – “you vill believe vot ve believe or ve vill discredited you, you vill be deregistered and ve vill say you are part of zee tin foil hat brigade”. A sad world indeed when people are bullied into silence when questions need to be answered and health issues need to be addressed.

  4. SteveCA7

    Some vaccines DO cause far more harm than good. The HPV vaccines have never bee proven to prevent a single case of cancer. There are over 100 strains of HPV and the vaccines only seek to prevent 2 strains (Cervarix), 4 strains (Gardasil) or 9 strains (Gardasil 9). The clinical trials on these 3 vaccines were not compared with a true placebo control. Instead they used similar vaccines or a ‘placebo’ containing the aluminium adjuvant of the vaccine. Reports of SERIOUS adverse reactions for all vaccines and controls were between 2.3% and 2.5%! Thats 2,300-2,500/100,000 vaccinated!
    Cases of cervical cancer in developed countries using PAP screening are 9/100,000 with typical screening rates of just 80%. Screening is still required after vaccination. Deaths due to cervical cancer have come down from 8 to 2/100,000 over the last 40 years with no benefit from vaccine.
    Our daughter has been severely disabled and housebound or hospitalised for over 5 years.
    Please make an INFORMED choice on this vaccine but don’t expect all doctors to tell you the truth

  5. Wade Sharrock

    If Dr Gannon’s entire argument is based around his perception that Dr Wakefield is a ‘charlatan’, then I would suggest to Dr Gannon that before making wild accusations against someone in the public arena , he do a little homework and actually investigate the claims against Wakefield himself. The only fraud involved with Wakefield was the court proceedings that have since been thrown out by a supreme court judge as irrelevant, inconsequential, subjective and entirely false. Wakefield himself has not, as yet, challenged the ruling in court, as the previous ruling left him virtually bankrupt and he has been unable to afford the costs of a challenge, and not interested in doing so since, as he states, ‘this is not about Dr Andrew Wakefield, this is about the children whose lives have been destroyed by the mmr vaccine’. Interesting to note, the other doctors involved in the article published in the Lancet, have been entirely exonerated. Not sure where Dr Gannon gets the idea that children were harmed by Dr Wakefield, as the families of the children involved in the study have written a letter of support for Dr Wakefield. They have stated categorically that their children were NOT harmed and the doctors had their full permission to use their children in the study, since it was the families that approached Dr Wakefield and his team claiming their children suffered from bowel disease that led to autism immediately following the mmr vaccine. What better person to take children suffering from bowel disease than the worlds leading gastroenteroligist at the time, Dr Andrew Wakefield, who I might add would ‘shit’ all over Dr Gannon in a debate about vaccines if in fact Dr Gannon had the guts to face him.

  6. Judith

    I do feel sad at the deplorable state of our media. The depiction of Wakefield as a Scapegoat for everything under the sun is upsetting. None of these doctors would have done any research on Wakefield and the lies continue like Chinese Whispers.

    What the Wakefield critics don’t tell you is that a) the study was coauthored by 12 other scientists and b) the paper made no such conclusion whatsoever between MMR and autism.

    Wakefield’s paper was a “Case Series”, which is not a hypothesis testing paper. He simply took the doctors referrals, treated the disease and reported the information provided by the parents, the referring doctors and the outcomes of his investigations. Also, his 19 other papers were never retracted, and the investigations into gastrointestinal disease has been replicated multiple times around the world.

    The paper was a study involving a group of children who had presented with gastric complications, the parents of whom had approached Wakefield (the top gastroenterologist in the UK at the time) and his research team to try and assist them with their children’s condition, which is exactly what they did. During this investigation 8 of the 12 parents revealed that these symptoms, along with the so-called autistic regression had started coincidentally with the administering of the MMR vaccine and what the scientists discovered was that when they treated the bowel disorders, the neurological and behavioural aberrations were similarly ameliorated.

    Where in any of that does it show that Wakefied was making a causal link? It was simply never stated – ever. In fact, Wakefield was advocating vaccine alternatives – he was pro-vaccine but pro SAFE vaccines.

    It is of interest that the person that retracted the study, Sir Crispin Davis, was making a large salary in a non-executive director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. The “investigation” was funded by The Sunday Times whose owner at the time, Rupert Murdoch’s son James, was making a large salary in his director position on the board of UK MMR makers GlaxoSmithKline. In the 1998 press conference Andrew Wakefield recommended using the monovalent measles vaccine option that had a safety record dating back to the late 60s, so he actually recommended vaccinating against measles. Unless you’re going to tell us that Andrew Wakefield was psychic, why isn’t the NHS for removing said option from the schedule over six months later at the request. Dr John Walker Smith who worked with Wakefield in the same capacity was exonerated of all charges

    The GMC proceeding was a multi-year, multi-million dollar prosecution against Drs. Wakefield, Walker-Smith, and Murch. It related to a controversial 1998 study published in The Lancet suggesting a possible link between autism, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and bowel disease. Based on the GMC prosecution, both Drs. Walker-Smith and Wakefield lost their licenses to practice and the Lancet article was officially retracted. The GMC alleged that the physician-authors had failed to obtain necessary ethical clearances and that they had subjected the twelve children in the study to unnecessary medical procedures.

    Justice Mitting, reviewing Dr. Walker-Smith’s appeal in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court, found that the GMC’s conclusions were “based on inadequate and superficial reasoning” and that “the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed.” See full text of the decision.

    Dr. Walker-Smith’s professional insurance coverage paid for his appeal; Dr. Wakefield’s insurance carrier would not.

  7. Judith

    This is Dr. Thompson in his own words on the guilt he carries for his participation in the act of covering up evidence that the MMR increases autism in a certain age group of children: Why has this movie VAXXED been banned? because they don’t want the truth to come out. You might noticed there is a blanket ban from the media about the coverup which is described in this movie. It further makes me angry with those medical professionals who keep their head in the sand.

    Dr. Thompson: Here’s what I shoulder. I shoulder that the CDC has put the research ten years behind. Because the CDC has not been transparent, we’ve missed ten years of research because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They’re not doing what they should be doing because they’re afraid to look for things that might be associated. So anyway, there’s still a lot of shame with that. So when I talk to a person like you who has to live with this day in and day out, I say well, so I have to deal with a few months of hell if all this becomes public, um, no big deal. I’m not having to deal with a child who is suffering day in and day out. So that’s the way I view all this. I’m completely ashamed of what I did. So that’s that. (Page 37)

    • Jonathan Graham

      …all of that could have been avoided if he was better at math.

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