Controversial anti-vaccine documentary set for 'secret' screening in Edinburgh

A documentary that questions the safety of vaccinations featuring discredited physician Dr Andrew Wakefield (left) is set for a secret screening in Edinburgh this weekendA documentary that questions the safety of vaccinations featuring discredited physician Dr Andrew Wakefield (left) is set for a secret screening in Edinburgh this weekend
A documentary that questions the safety of vaccinations featuring discredited physician Dr Andrew Wakefield (left) is set for a secret screening in Edinburgh this weekend | other
The Evening News uncovered the plans to screen the film at the Pleasance

A CONTROVERSIAL documentary that questions the safety of vaccinations featuring discredited physician Dr Andrew Wakefield is set for a “secret” screening in Edinburgh this weekend.

The movie – Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth – is the second of two films relying on research by Wakefield who was struck off the UK medical register in 2010 for offences relating to dishonesty and failing to act in the best interests of vulnerable child patients.

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He triggered anxiety among parents over his suggestion in a paper published in the Lancet medical journal of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

People wanting to see the documentary had to send a direct message to one of the organisers Facebook accountsPeople wanting to see the documentary had to send a direct message to one of the organisers Facebook accounts
People wanting to see the documentary had to send a direct message to one of the organisers Facebook accounts | other

The Evening News uncovered the plans to screen the film at the Pleasance on Saturday between 2pm and 5pm .

People wanting to see the documentary had to send a direct message to one of the organisers’ Facebook accounts with their email and were then sent a link to the Eventbrite ticketing website.

However, the Edinburgh University Students Association confirmed that they had no record of a booking for any event related to a screening of the film.

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Last month, campaigner Emma Dalmayne, who has five autistic children, was verbally abused as she protested at a London screening of the film.

The Evening News uncovered the plans to screen the film at the Pleasance on SaturdayThe Evening News uncovered the plans to screen the film at the Pleasance on Saturday
The Evening News uncovered the plans to screen the film at the Pleasance on Saturday | other

The 43-year-old has received death and rape threats after calling for youngsters to receive the MMR jab.

She said: “My thoughts are that whoever it is that is giving this film a platform is helping spread harmful misinformation. It’s a scientifically unproven film.

“What they do is they book the venue – they don’t say what it is that they’re showing until it’s too late.

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“Wakefield is discredited, he’s not allowed to practise in the UK as a doctor at all. He’s over in America and they love him over there because he feeds the conspiracy theory of ‘Big Pharma wouldn’t let me practise anymore because I proved the truth about the MMR’.

“It’s all conspiracy and it’s all s**t.

“I defintely think the film shouldn’t be shown.”

The move to screen the documentary comes amid an outbreak of mumps in the Lothians which sparked a warning from the NHS to have children vaccinated as the virus spread into schools. In December, students at the University of Edinburgh were warned of an outbreak affecting students aged between 18 and 22.

Lib Dems health spokesperson Alex-Cole Hamilton MSP, said: “Pseudo-scientists who latch on to discredited scientific research and evangelise for others to do the same are a grave and serious problem.

“In recent years we have seen the re-emergence of measles, mumps and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

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“It is incumbent that we push back against those who risk people’s lives by claiming otherwise.”

Many young adults missed out on the MMR after Dr Wakefield made the autism vaccine link in 1998.

One of the organisers said: This film doesn’t question the safety of inoculations, but does give voice to families with vaccine injured children. Why don’t people want to hear from them?”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Vaccination is the best protection against a series of diseases, including mumps. Scaremongering about vaccines has the potential to do very real damage to the wellbeing of children.”