Canadian Government Funded Anti-Vaccine Film
The National Film Board of Canada has funded an anti-vax documentary. The English version is called “Shots in the Dark” and the French version is called “Silence, on vaccine“. The Government of Canada web site links to this film, including a link to purchase the DVD.
The film begins with the following introduction:
At a time when there was no penicillin or antibiotics, the invention of vaccine over two hundred years ago helped fight some devastating pandemics.
With the evolution of medical science and improved hygiene since then, some diseases have almost been eradicated. Yet more and more vaccines are being added to the vaccination schedule of children and adults. Some people are now experiencing serious side effects.
Without questioning vaccination in principle, the film presents the opinions of both patients and the scientists who are examining the causes of their illnesses.
This opening suggests that vaccines are not as important today as they had been in the past because of “improved hygiene”. This is fallacious claim, because the decline in the incidents of these serious illnesses comes not from improved hygene, but from the use of vaccines. Unless the disease has been totally eradicated (like smallpox, for example), discontinuing vaccination will guarantee the reemergence of the disease.
The film focuses on numerous anecdotes, which typically follow the format:
- My healthy child was vaccinated, and
- the child subsequently developed a serious disorder,
- therefore the vaccine must have caused the serious disorder.
Of course, this is the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.
The documentary also implies that the Thimerosal preservative and/or the aluminum hydroxide adjuvant used in many vaccines is the cause of neurological disorders such as autism, multiple sclerosis, and macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF). If this were true, the rates of these illnesses would drop if the additive was removed from the vaccine. But autism rates have not decreased following the removal of Thimerosal. The documentary does not mention this important fact, nor any other argument that is contrary to the implication that vaccines are dangerous.
Free speech is an important right in our society, but there are limits, such as the classic example of yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre. You have the right, if not the obligation, to yell “fire” if you have credible, substantial evidence that there actually is a fire. But if you have no credible evidence, yelling “fire” is irresponsible and perhaps criminal. This documentary presents no solid evidence, but implies that vaccines are responsible for a host of serious, chronic conditions. It is yelling “fire” without justification, with the predictable consequence of decreased vaccine acceptance and the reemergence of serious, preventable illness.
The National Film Board of Canada provides funding as well as credibility to this documentary. Perhaps a policy change is necessary to prevent the unfortunate promotion of films such as this.