I am neither a health professional, nor a parent. I’m not a big fan of the news, although I occasionally listen to NPR in the morning and regularly check my facebook feed. I’m not politically inclined, and tend to view both parties cynically. This post is not sponsored.
I first heard about the film Vaxxed, when I attended the Take Back Your Health Conference. At one of the lectures, I was surprised to hear that this documentary was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival for it’s controversial topic about vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine. Robert De Niro, who is a co-founder of the film festival and has a son with autism recently stated on The Today Show,
“I think this movie is something people should see,” he goes on to say, “there’s a lot of information about things that are happening with the CDC, the pharmaceutical companies, there’s a lot of things that are not said. I, as a parent of a child who has autism, I’m concerned. And I want to know the truth. I’m not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines.” Later in the interview he goes to say, “And for me, to get so upset here today, on the today show, with you guys, means there is something there.”
Well, my husband and I did get to see the movie despite all the censorship, and we were both pretty freaked out after seeing it. Like De Niro, there were a lot of upset parents looking for answers. Many of these parents believe their child changed practically overnight after given the MMR vaccine.
Why was this vaccine singled out?
This vaccine is for measles, mumps, and rubella. It is generally administered to children around one year of age, and then a second dose before starting school which is around four or five years old. Because this is a three-in-one, as oppose to a single vaccine, its safety is doubted in the anti-vaccine movement. Not only is the safety of the entire vaccine called into question, but the vaccination schedule set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also addressed in the film. By giving the vaccination to children as early as the schedule demands, there could be an increased risk of having an adverse reaction.
What are the legal ramifications for a parent whose child has had an adverse reaction to a vaccine?
This question was also addressed in the documentary. Since there is a no-fault system in place for litigating vaccine injury claims, you would need to take your case to the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, without a jury of your peers. Also known as the Vaccine Court. This court was established in 1986 under the National Childhood Injury Vaccine Act as a reaction to high-profile lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers involving the DPT vaccine. Several of these lawsuits resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts.
To get a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) award, a causal connection must be shown. If someone has had one of the listed side effects within an short period of time after the vaccination, the vaccine is the presumed cause. It is important to note that autism is not a listed side effect and that most of those cases have not received compensation. Encephalopathy, which is the technical name for a brain injury, has symptoms listed eerily similar to autism. Cases brought before the Vaccine Court for encephalopathy have received compensation.
I wanted to keep this article short and focus on the topics of the film that really made me want to learn more about this subject. As far as the film goes, I recommend seeing it for yourself. After all, you are the one taking the vaccines and the one taking your child to the doctor at the end of the day. I think no matter what the disease or injury, it is important to be your own doctor and do your own research.