Dr Lance O’Sullivan I salute you.
Kaitaia is a town in the far north of NZ, warm people, lovely beaches. Sadly immunisation coverage is low, infectious disease rates are high. Doctors like Lance O’Sullivan work their guts out to improve the health of the people they serve, including treating kids for illnesses that they should never have to suffer. The community need screenings of the manipulative pro-disease film Vaxxed like a kick in the guts. At the local screening Dr O’Sullivan got up and defended his community against the anti-vaccination lobby with an open, honest message.
The film in question has as much scientific fact in it as a B-grade zombie film yet is so manipulative it manages to persuade people that its insidious messages are somehow true. I am not going to write a film review because many others have done so already, but in short there is no scientific debate about a relationship between the MMR vaccine, or any other vaccine and autism. This has been extensively investigated and put to bed years ago. MMR vaccines have a longstanding excellent safety profile.
The film focusses on the claim that the CDC hid evidence in one of its studies evaluating the safety of MMR vaccine. Like the myth that MMR causes autism, this conspiracy theory has also been well and truly debunked. If MMR did cause autism then one of the large carefully conducted internationally diverse studies would have found at least a hint of a link, a whiff, a vestige…
It must be also be highlighted, for the millionth time, that Andrew Wakefield, the director of this film, falsified data, lied, performed invasive painful procedures on children without ethical approval and did not declare massive financial conflicts of interest. He has lost his licence to practice medicine and remains unsupported by any respected expert in either vaccines or autism. These are the accepted facts and Wakefield is the person delivering the messages to communities like Kaitaia, through his mondo film.
While Vaxxed is a film that will appeal to people who believe that the moon landing was filmed in a Hollywood basement and reject the warming of the planet as a fact it will also scare good decent parents who want to do the best for their kids. This is what makes the whole thing stink so badly. The promoters are so despicable that they even targeted Somali refugees in a community in US Minnesota with devastating consequences. Now there is a measles outbreak and kids are in hospital. This is not really what we want in our NZ communities. I do not believe that showing the film represents free speech because all over the country the organisers have done everything in their power to prevent any challenges – covert screenings etc. In Auckland the organisers began by issuing a warning to the audience that if they wanted to make trouble they had people posted throughout the theatre.
Lance said babies will die. He is not extremist, it is true. The impact of the anti-vaccination movement has been documented for over 200 years. The consequences of the recent activity against MMR vaccine have included deaths from measles. It is purely a numbers game – about 1 per 1000 cases will die. Last outbreak in Auckland 23% of cases went to hospital, which case # will be the one who dies? The outbreak cost untold millions to manage. The world is trying to eliminate measles, a major killer, people who promote Vaxxed are trying to thwart the efforts, does this make them pro-measles? Well yeah!
The organisers of the film screening are crying foul. On their website they accuse Dr O’Sullivan of bullying. I certainly hope the accusations are unfounded, they are indeed grievous. Perhaps WAVES may like to provide some evidence to support these claims, the video would speak otherwise.
In taking the stage Lance stood up for the tamariki/children in his community.