After being booted from the Tribecca Film Festival in New York City, “Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe,” a movie about a purported cover-up of a government study on the safety of the measles vaccine, opens Friday in Orange County.
Regency South Coast Village in Santa Ana will show the documentary for at least a one-week run. An evening screening Friday has already sold out.
Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor from Britain who has set out to prove there’s a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, and autism – a theory that is widely disputed – co-wrote and directed the movie. He also appears frequently on screen.
The one-time gastroenterologist raised money for the movie a year ago at an event in Dana Point hosted by a local moms group.
In 2010, Wakefield was banned from practicing medicine in his native Britain. The General Medical Council there said he “acted in a way that was ‘dishonest,’ ‘misleading and irresponsible’ while carrying out research into a possible link between the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, bowel disease and autism,” according to The Telegraph.
The film’s distributor, Cinema Libre, has presented the movie as not being “anti-vaccine.”
“The movie is not anti-vaccine and neither is Dr. Wakefield. How can someone who advocates for giving the MMR vaccine at 3 years of age or to have it split into three different vaccines be considered anti-vaccine? But unfortunately we live in a time where scandal is valued more than the truth. That is what this film is fighting for: the right to know,” said Richard Castro, the film’s head of distribution.
“Vaxxed” was scheduled to premier at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month, but was pulled from the schedule. De Niro said that after reviewing the film with the scientific community, he no longer believed the movie “contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”
When Wakefield fundraised in Orange County last spring, he was welcomed by hundreds of parents. They said he is working in their children’s best interests to find and present information that mainstream science and media, the government, and the pharmaceutical industry do not.
“Vaxxed” is also playing in Santa Monica, Pasadena and San Diego.