The Truth About Episode One of The Truth About Vaccines

What is The Truth About Vaccines? Start here.

Episode One: The History of Vaccines, Smallpox, Vaccine Safety & the Current CDC Schedule

The Cast

The Claims

  • Anti-Vaccine Labels 
  • Vaccine safety education in medical schools 
  • Vaccine hesitancy is valid 
    • The film claims that AAP study in defense against vaccine hesitancy is irrelevant now, because the children in the study were vaccinated between 1993-1997 when children received fewer vaccines. Fortunately, this study was published in 2016.
  • Number of doses in vaccine schedule has tripled over decades but health has allegedly declined 
    • The rise in pediatric chronic diseases and neurological disorders seems to have a root in poverty rather than vaccines.
    • The film claims, without evidence, that CDC and doctors aren’t even adhering to the vaccine schedule themselves. One 2005 study  and another 2012 study show that the vast majority of doctors did adhere to the schedule for their own children. (It really should be 100%. Let’s work on that.)
    • The film claims current combination of vaccines has never been tested for safety. It’s important to note that every time a vaccine is added to the schedule, it is first studied concomitantly with other vaccines. Also, there’s this IOM study on the vaccine schedule.
  • Vaccines are dangerous because pharmaceutical companies are immune from litigation 
    • The claim that Congress was pressured into the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act after threats from the pharmaceutical industry to abandon vaccines manufacturing due to the number of vaccine injury lawsuits is not altogether false. But it is wrongly framed. In the 1980s, American lawyers filed a flurry of lawsuits related to the pertussis vaccine, despite no studies supporting a causal relationship between the vaccine and the supposed injuries. The legislation was meant to protect lifesaving medicines while supporting people injured by them.
    • The claim that vaccines are the only product mandated use in the U.S. that are liability-free is false in that vaccines are not truly mandated and they are not liability-free.
    • The film also claims that parents are the only parties held liable for vaccine injury, as they are left with the task of caring for their children. It should be noted, of course that parenting a disabled child is not a liability, and that parenting an autistic child has nothing to do with vaccines.
  • Doctors don’t recognize adverse reactions to vaccines because they think they are normal 
    • The claim that unvaccinated populations don’t have the levels of disease seen in vaccinated children is a common, but false, one. It is often based on two (now retracted) studies and a telephone survey they conducted which shows that vaccinated children are healthier. In fact, one German study found no difference between the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, except that vaccinated children contracted fewer vaccine-preventable diseases.
    • Have healthcare practitioners have normalized chronic diseases allegedly caused by vaccines? Or has the triumph over infectious diseases and malnutrition meant a shift toward more chronic illness? After all, you can’t have asthma if you die from polio.
    • The film claims autism rates are indeed skyrocketing and that the expanded definition is not reasonable explanation for the increase. Certainly, operating in a community of people who are convinced that vaccines and autism are related will reinforce that belief. However, the evidence shows that changes in diagnostic criteria and expanded support and awareness account for a large part of the increase in incidence. Here’s a nice article on how to think about the risk of autism.
  • The film views vaccine injury cases as redemption for families who have blamed themselves for damage their child obtained from vaccination 
    • One case cited was the Hannah Poling case. I’d say more, but everyone should really read that linked article.
    • The film claimed that the NVICP (“Vaccine Court”) has paid out over $3 Billion in settlements, which is cited as a large amount. However, this number means that 99.997% of children who receive vaccines do not have a reaction.
  • The film argues that as smallpox vaccinations increased, infection rates and deaths from the disease increased as well. 
    • This claim is part of a common argument that the eradication of smallpox was a function of quarantine and containment rather than vaccinations. Of course, quarantine and containment were an important part of eradication efforts, which would not have succeeded without vaccines.
  • The film discussed censorship in academic research for studies questioning vaccine safety. A New York Times article provides some validity to this argument, but the issue the film has is not the same as the one raised in the Times. Anti-vaxxers want legitimacy by being published in real journals, but they have little success in doing so because of the shabbiness of their own research.
  • The film claims the media have played a key role in reinforcing our blind belief in the power and value of vaccines 
    • They claim the system to promote vaccine effectiveness is deep and dependent upon advertising dollars from the pharmaceutical industry. However, the media is even more dependent on ratings, as was the case with Wakefield and continue to be the case with falsely framing vaccines as a controversy.

Coming soon, Episode Two: What’s in a Vaccine? Are Vaccines Effective? … and … What About Polio?

7 thoughts on “The Truth About Episode One of The Truth About Vaccines

  1. Minor correction: Louis Farrakhan is the present leader of Nation of Islam. Tony Mohammad is ‘Western Region Representative’ and one of his principal subordinates.


  2. Found this while researching the people in the videos. I have been taking furious screenshots for compilation and dissemination through a large group of doctors. The docuseries is absolutely ridiculous and they play it off like they are being so middle-of-the-road and objective it is nauseating.


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