Vaccines: Calling the Shots
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Vaccines: Calling the Shots

2014, Health  -   23 Comments
Ratings: 5.89/10 from 177 users.

A growing percentage of parents have genuine concerns over the number of vaccinations recommended for their infants by the medical community. But what are the consequences for all of us if these parents simply refuse to adhere to these recommendations? Vaccines: Calling the Shots, a new documentary produced by the award-winning PBS series NOVA, presents a balanced and clear-eyed view of this increasingly prevalent issue.

At the center of this disturbing narrative lies the recent outbreak of measles across the United States and other countries. Thanks to the effectiveness of widespread vaccinations, measles was thought to be eradicated by the year 2000. In fact, many seasoned medical professionals had never treated a single case of what was once a far too common infection. But all that changed when over 30,000 instances of measles erupted in Europe in 2011, and the infection soon made its way to the United States two years later.

The measles can attach itself to the unvaccinated in seconds. Children are the most vulnerable. "You don't have to cough. You just have to breathe," reports one emergency room physician featured in the film. "It's the worst kind of contagion. It's airborne."

Outbreaks such as this have usually only been witnessed in third-world countries where poverty and limited resources serve as a potent recipe for otherwise preventable infection and disease. Today, however, many of these cases are being found in the most affluent and privileged population pockets across the globe.

Some parents shun vaccinations based on the grounds of religious belief. Many others are legitimately concerned over the safety of administering up to 28 vaccinations on a child before they've even reached the age of two. What are the undesirable side effects involved, and can their child's immune system withstand such large quantities of vaccine?

Vaccines: Calling the Shots gives voice to the concerns of these parents, and features insights from several prominent subjects within the medical field who urge for more of an open dialogue between doctors and parents. As with so many aspects of life, education is key.

"The history of vaccines is clear," says Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "If you start to decrease vaccine immunization rates, you start to see the diseases re-emerge. It's a history we don't seem to learn from."

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4 years ago

no!!!! it was not vaccine, but hygiene!!! and if they know the history of vaccine then they also know that all these heavy metal cocktails causes neurological damage to all living things....but still medicine says there is no link between autism and know when they say white is black. sickening...they think we are all stupid and obedient to do what ever comes from behind the curtain...I had measles, mums, rubella...these things are not to kill you, but to make your immune system stronger...vaccine does the opposite...

chris doyle
5 years ago

no thanks ,...hhmm, seems all these /life' threatenIng childhood diseases need highly toxic ingredients (ALUMINIUM,MERCURY,...)of mystery duration of protection whilst brain damaging so many otherwise healthy babies.And I NEVER hear of any options.Nor a healthy medical aid for dire side effects.No thanks .Excuse me but I know my options.A 'tip',.Make it 100% safe and you'll make even more money.

6 years ago

The first rule is fielding the credibility of any documentary or "study" is to research the production company. Tangled Bank Studio is the producer of this one. Tangled Bank is also the public relations arm of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a vaccine researcher and developer.

6 years ago

Propaganda in favor of vaccines. One star.

7 years ago

one of mankinds greatest accomplishments is ridding the world of smallpox,it was a global effort-that was a very nasty affliction

7 years ago

This documentary is very well informed and provides a good explanation of the immune system to the viewer to help them understand why vaccines work. They provide numerous examples of conditions that are often wrongly associated with vaccines such as autism and seizures and explains to the viewer in a succinct manner why the two are unrelated. The film provides a nice discussion regarding why vaccinating your child may be beneficial. Just to clarify - vaccines are a preventative measure to be given to children so they never develop a life-threatening infection (it won't cleanse the Earth of this infection - it's not magic bullet that will disinfect every surface you touch).

Looking briefly in the comments section, I see that many people are worried about the ingredients within the vaccination itself - namely aluminum and mercury.
The amount of mercury in the vaccine is so, so minute... you are more likely to get mercury poisoning from eating tuna fish; and the amount of aluminum is once again, so minute that there will be no adverse effects.

If anyone is looking to truly understand vaccines better, make sure to ready primary source articles that are backed up by scientific evidence, and read more than one (just use google scholar and type in "vaccines"). Often, studies may not be statistically significant; therefore you should make sure there is more than one source backing up any one claim.
(Just thought I'd provide a helpful resource for people who are wondering about vaccines!)

Ricky Barnes
7 years ago

I spent 6 years making my own film on the subject, it's called 50 Cents A Dose. The reason? What I saw in the medical studies was not being reported or reflected properly in the media (and I've been a media professional most of my adult life). Dr Offit partnered with Merck on his book and other publishing endeavours, and Merck buys his books and distributes them nationally. He has personally made millions from his vaccine patents. What they don't tell you is this one simple fact: a vaccine's function is to make you a "little" sick, so your body produces an antibody specific to that lab-altered antigen, and for some people, that little sickness develops into a larger, and sometimes life-long sickness. These can often be auto-immune disorders. In the last 26 years, we conducted the largest clinical trial in history on our children. Now we see the largest pool of chronic disease ever, in these kids. Many of the ingredients in vaccines, it is now understood, have no way to methylated from our bodies. Our bodies do not have the mechanism to remove them from muscle tissue. And those lab-altered antigens?... they do not necessarily have any bearing on the wild antigens we come in contact with in nature. I could go on and on, but that's why I made the film.

7 years ago

The diets of those who vaccinate and those who don't should also be taken into account. Our family does not vaccinate, however we have a pretty good diet, mostly organic and avoid processed crap. I notice among my friends and family who do vaccinate, they eat a lot of processed crap and rarely buy organic because its too expensive they say .The thing is most of these people have money and wear expensive clothes and shoes, upgrade their electronics every year etc...I wonder why they don't spend as much money on what is going into their bodies instead of what they are putting on the outside of them. They also eat maccas and other fast foods and their kids also play on screens all day rather than go to a park. The studies on vaccines effects are not holistic....and this doco is severely misleading.

7 years ago

The big problem with vaccines is that they have to be given to healthy people. Nobody is questioning does he have to give a life saving medicine to an ill baby. Even if it has severe side effects. But to a healthy one... may be we should pass? May be the illness is not so scary... we haven't seen this disease...
There is one point in the film I really liked. That when someone says "I have a fear that the vaccine may harm my baby" this is a start of the conversation, not an end. Doctors should educate their patients, not only give shots. In this sense this film shows the right direction - the one who doubts and doesn't want to vaccinate is not an enemy - he's the one who needs explanations and persuasion.

7 years ago

David Y, you claim that it takes "a few basic biology and chemistry lessons". If you were so sure, and if these 'basic lessons' were really so easy and widely understood, you'd perhaps give us an example.

You can ramble on about how much evidence you have, but if you don't actually GIVE any, you're just another part of the problem.

David Y
7 years ago

Pseudoscience is dangerous. People criticizing vaccination are scientifically illiterate and are a danger to the society! Do you folks know how many people used to die from smallpox and other communicable diseases?

New age idiots harping on aluminum or mercury don't have any idea what they are talking about. Take a few basic biology and chemistry lessons, folks! And I mean just "basic" - high school level lessons. It is a disgrace that only in America so many dimwitted idiots criticize what is considered a scientifically accepted fact ALL around the world - like benefits of vaccinations...

7 years ago

Read Dissolving Illusions by Dr. Suzanne Humphries and the dozens of other books on the subject. Vaccine Illusion is another good one. Or anything by Neil Z. Miller. The truth is on the side of those who question the mantra that vaccines are "safe and effective." Start digging and you'll find out that vaccines did not eradicate infectious disease and in many cases, are actually perpetuating it, as well as causing an 'epidemic' of chronic illnesses in today's children.

7 years ago

Very one sided and biased. No anti-vaccine viewpoints. The production company behind it is a small team with none other than Paul "Proffitt" Offit, one of the world's most aggressive vaccine campaigners and patent of his Merk RotaTeq vaccine. LOOOOOL no conflict of interest at all . Bahahahaha. Well now you know why it has been uncovered to be blatant pro-vaccine propaganda. Shameless.

7 years ago

Very one sided movie. Doesn't show ratio of vaccinated people getting sick vs unvaccinated. Doesn't show how big business vaccination is for pharma companies. There is need for big independent studies comparing overall health of vaccinated vs unvaccinated.

8 years ago

I will pass on the mercury thank you...

Liz Walley
8 years ago

Paul Offit is quoted as saying that any child could receive 100,000 vaccinations at one time without adverse reactions. Wouldn't that pad his bank account quite a bit? Any credible documentary should address such outlandish statements made by those they are using as experts.

Herd immunity is met with rates as low as 70% vaccination, so why be uptight about 1-10% of population not being vaccinated?

According to experts on this documentary, boosters are required at regular intervals to maintain immunity. So why focus all attention on babies and children? What explains the relatively low numbers of infectious disease rates considering that the majority of the adult population does not receive boosters?

Just my musings........

8 years ago

The strong bias of this doc is the way it presents members of the medical profession as heroic souls concerned with nothing more than saving lives. To understand the mistrust of vaccines and how the medical profession more than anything else has fostered this mistrust through choosing money over saving lives we need to look at other documentaries. There are many out there. For just one example of why the medical profession NEEDS to be mistrusted, read about how they price Soliris at 700,000 dollars per patient per year so that Alexion can make piles of money while patients who can't afford it, well THEIR lives aren't being worried about so much. They can get dangerous blood clots and die. The drug's safety was declared, "unclear" as of 2014 because it lowers the body's immune system efficiency. This lead to patients on Soliris developing life-threatening meningococcal viruses.The use of Soliris is now preceeded by a vaccine you don't hear about in this documentary: the meningococcal vaccine and, hey, what do you know, THAT vaccine was released in October of 2014! Coincidence? So the drug was obviously released before it was fully tested in order to cash in on Alexion's monopoly until 2017. The vaccine that preceeds it? Why would anyone think THAT was fully tested when they see the kind of profits Alexion has made from Soliris? But, the message we are getting from this argument, and it is reinforced in this doc, is that if you mistrust one vaccine then you mistrust them all. You are an anti-vaxxer and you are causing the return of measles, mumps, rubella, polio etc... The real cause: greed of the medical industry.

Estee Fox
8 years ago

This is a good level documentary that answers questions that 9month pregnant women like me need.
HOWEVER, they failed to include some key issues:
1.) What are the passible adverse effects of so much Aluminum in vaccines- is it actually to much? or does one vaccine have say the amount found in backing soda in bread?
2.) What about the presence of formaldehyde in vaccines - it does occur naturally in the body, is the amount and type in vaccines to much and the okay amount?
3.) The Vitamin K shot has propylene glycol (anti-freeze) in it - aren't oral drop better than a shot with preservatives? (I know this is not a vaccine but it is a shot given at birth)
4.) Thimerisol was removed from all vaccines except one, flue shots and multi dose vials MAKE SURE YOUR DOC DOES SINGLE DOSE ONES!

I think any educated person is pro-vaccine, the argument now is based on the ingredients -preservatives and adjuvants.

Kirsten Jasper
8 years ago

This is an excellent discussion of the risks/benefits of vaccines.

8 years ago

We have one side and now we had this side and I had the oral vaccine I only took the first part. I skip it. I had gotten sick and broke out and gotten allergic reaction.

8 years ago

a weakness of the internet is the information over-flow which seems to
abide skepticism to the demise of health issues ,long thought were of
the past.....but still ridicule is a necessity to counter-check for
crazy times we live in!