PBS Frontline Episode About Vaccines Airs Tuesday, April 27th

Picture 5Tomorrow (since I’m writing this at 9:30 p.m. after having spent all day on airplanes returning from New York City where I was at the American Society of Journalists and Authors meeting) the PBS show “Frontline” will air a full-hour investigative piece on the vaccine debate.

A producer and a cameraman came to Ashland when Leone was just a few weeks old and spent hours interviewing me, following us around town, and taking B-roll of the kids.

The press release makes me a little nervous.

They’ve decided to call the show “The Vaccine War” and I wonder if–as a parent who choses to selectively vaccinate my children–I will be portrayed in the episode as selfish, thoughtless, and unconcerned about the greater good.

You can watch the trailer here.

We don’t have a television at our house. I planned to watch it with some friends. But I had forgotten that James will be out of town and I haven’t arranged for a babysitter. Oy.

Will you be tuning into PBS? “The Vaccine Wars” airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET and then will be available for viewing on the internet.

Related posts
PBS Frontline to Tackle Vaccine Debate
Monkey Study Shows Danger of Hep B Vaccine
Why You Should Question Vaccines for Your Children

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22 thoughts on “PBS Frontline Episode About Vaccines Airs Tuesday, April 27th”

  1. While my son is grown and past this stage, I will try to watch, or TiVo the program. Hopefully, I will have grandkids someday and definitely want to be more informed!
    .-= Cindy L.´s last blog ..Background! =-.

  2. Very exciting, Jennifer! I’ll be tuning in.

    I hope they portray both sides fairly and honestly. PBS usually tries to do that. Understand why the title makes you nervous.
    .-= Almost Slowfood´s last blog ..Coming Soon! =-.

  3. Good luck Jennifer. One thing I can say, from having been on national television a couple of times on a somewhat controversial subject, is that no matter how they portray it, public awareness about this issue will grow, and in the end, that’s what counts. But I hope it’s portrayed fairly and well!
    .-= Christine at Origami Mommy´s last blog ..Our Heroines =-.

  4. I’m going to watch! I saw an article about the show in the Globe today, you were quoted. Good luck, I bet it will portray you well 🙂

  5. With us non- and selective- vaxers in the hot seat being told we’re killing our kids are are to blame for all the world’s ills, it’s understandable to feel nervous. But you’ve got to make the decision that’s right for YOU and YOUR family. If we were all supposed to make every decision based on the entire world, then anyone with any genetic imperfections (pretty much everyone alive) should refrain from reproducing to “improve the surviving gene pool.”

    Besides, for being such a horrible, killing illness, the mumps really killed a whole lot of those people in New York, right? How many of the 1,600+ people died again, or got seriously ill? Oh, yeah, that’s right. None. Zip. A big, fat zero.

    Your kids, they’re priority in your decisions. My baby, my priority. Someone else’s kids, someone else’s priority.

  6. I don’t think you could come off as selfish or thoughtless. Of course, there are some close minded people who will believe what they want and will not allow themselves to be open to another view. But I don’t always practice the same lifestyle as you (my kid is vaccinated, for instance) and I don’t remotely see you as selfish or thoughtless. You are one of the smartest most generous people I know. You are passionate about your causes. If more people had the same passion, we might solve all of the world’s problems. It’s apathy that’s killing us all slowly.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..The Story of My Journalism Conference =-.

  7. For fellow TV-Free families you can also watch it online on the PBS website – usually the day after it airs.

  8. I thought that the show was fairly one sided. It put us non-vaxers in a bad light. Maybe I need to watch it again, but honestly I didn’t like it.

  9. The show was definitely making a case for vaccination.

    It made me glad that 1) my kids are vaccinated and 2) that my baby is past the age where he can’t be protected like that poor baby with pertussis.

    Your comments about polio came across to me as rather uninformed – perhaps that’s the way it was edited? We don’t have polio today BECAUSE of vaccines. And that’s why we no longer need the polio vaccine.

    I went into the program as someone who vaccinates but didn’t have strong feelings about it and left if feeling very frustrated with the population who choose not to vaccinate and allows the ‘herd immunity’ to drop to a level where we are having outbreaks of previously preventable and almost eradicated diseases, such as measles and mumps.

  10. I am choosing “Natural Immunity” for my child. This means I am letting his immune system develop naturally, without chemicals and toxins. As far as vaccines doing anything to help eradicate disease, running water and better known hygiene practices have done more for that than vaccines. The above website isn’t mine, just a reference for more information.
    .-= Sherri Carter´s last blog ..Pop Quiz : What Do All These Charts Have In Common? =-.

  11. I am choosing “Natural Immunity” for my child. This means his immunity system will develop naturally without chemicals and toxins. As far as vaccines doing much to eradicate disease, they didn’t and haven’t. Running water and better hygiene practices have done far more than vaccines. The above website isn’t mine, just a good reference.
    .-= Sherri C´s last blog ..Pop Quiz : What Do All These Charts Have In Common? =-.

  12. Didn’t present the anti-vaccine side very well. It made us look like we make decisions based off faith instead of science…and that we get out info from anti-vaccine internet sites. I read the CDC’s info (every vaccines ingredient list) and plenty of peer-reviewed journals. I did not make my decision based off of fear that my child would become autistic…as these episodes would have made the listener believe we are…I didn’t even know about autism when I started to question vaccines 4 years ago. I already knew about the dangers of the listed ingredients from other research I had done that made me question–why we are injecting this toxic stuff into our bodies. Even if autism did not exist I still would not vaccinate. They did not discuss our full case. Yes- vaccines may have reduced these childhood diseases (all depends on which graphs and studies you read and believe), but there has been a trade-off…like cancers, auto-immune disorders…a over-all lowered immunity-that is on the rise. The more you vaccinate the more your body becomes dependent on the vaccines and it’s a vicious cycle. It’s so rare that you will have a bad reaction or deadly reaction to these childhood diseases– much less rare then say the link to triggering autism (1 out of 150 kids has autism). We are a much sicker nation then we were when the childhood diseases were more prevalent. My doc would say–let the diseases come back and let us fight if off the right way–through prevention (healthy diet, truly healthy) as well as using some natural herbs and such to fight them off. Just because vaccines may have done what they were created for–doesn’t mean they are still the right way to go now. Science is all about new discovers and learning through trial and error. Who is to say vaccines were not the error? Whose to say there is not-now-a better way to both prevent and treat? Maybe the “older” folks in this video knew a few people who had these diseases and it dramatized them into thinking vaccines are the only way to stop these diseases, but I know a whole lot more who have cancer and diabetes and lupus and asthma…and die from it. Much more research needs to be done. And until the real science begins I will not vaccinate my children. They want to prevent a “crisis” and the possibility of these diseases coming back–then do what we ask. Do the real research needed and we will trust you more. But are they afraid of the findings? I think so. Everything in the media is pro-vaccine still.

  13. Oh and those outbreaks…look them up for yourself. The majority of the children who came down with measles or mumps…were vaccinated…TWICE! So there goes that argument.

  14. Frontline is always very fair and extremely accurate in their reporting. Of course, since logic and science and common sense guided the show, I am quite sure you people will start to demonize the whole Frontline/PBS report. You have to understand that by spreading this crazy biased uninformed unscientific ideas to other people, you are actually hurting people and society in general. I hate to tell you but if you knew anything about scientific methodology and research (21st century research… not anecdotal out of contest emotional cases) you would see that the evidence is pretty clear in favor of vaccination. They are safe(about 99.9999999% there is always the really really remote chance that you might be vaccinated now and get hit by a bus just after you leave the doctor’s office. Did the vaccine magically attracted the bus? maybe? Can you ever be sure? not 100%)and saying otherwise without actual scientific evidence makes you look like a crazy person. Worse, you are contributing to hurt many many families that listen to your misguided ideas. For Christ sake, quit hurting children.

    Oh, why don’t you save some money and buy a TV and join the 21st century.

  15. Del,

    To follow your arguement – we should allow disease to run it’s course and be a healthier country as a result. That sounds great until you think about YOUR child being the one who is weeded out from the ‘herd’ by dying from polio, pertussis, or some other childhood illness.

    And to take your arguement further, lets stop with diabetes medication, heart medication, cholesteral reducing medication, etc. Because those people who are surviving due to those medications rather than perishing are also dragging down the collective health of our people by living to maturity and passing along their genetics.

    And lets not get started on antibiotics!


  16. I thought this explanation might help with the comments made by DEl and Aria …

    1. No vaccine has a 100% response rate … there will always be a small percetage who do not mount an immune response. It is these children along with those that are too young or have a condition (chemotherapy, HIV, allergy, etc)that prevents vaccination who benefit from the effect of herd immunity.

    2. The cases in New York and San Diego represent the “canary in the coal mine” of what will happen if our immunization rate drops too low. Yes no one died THIS time, in those two outbreaks … However since June 2007 there have been 57,300 cases and 507 deaths varified from vaccine preventable disease.

    On a personal note, I don’t think I have ever heard a more selfish statement than: “My baby, my priority. Someone else

  17. I was disappointed in the episode, so much so that I’e begun to question the thoroughness of other Frontline episodes that I’ve enjoyed. I suppose they had to choose a focus but in doing so missed many parents’ concerns. I am concerned about the number, schedule, additives, and other negative outcomes (in addition to autism). It has been my experience that ped’s are reluctant to report adverse reactions-which if I recall correctly was not even mentioned. The scientific professional vs. emotional parent lense smacked of propaganda and spin.

  18. After a lot of consideration I did decide to vaccinate my daughter (except for HepB so far) and even so I thought the episode was very biased toward vaccines. The overarching point was that parents are worried about vaccines because of the evil internets and clearly science has proven them to be great. I found this extremely disappointing because I did a lot of research prior to my decisions and did find plenty of reason to be unsure. Science is definitely the way to go about finding out more about vaccines, but the idea that science and medicine are always right is ludicrous. Science only knows what it has learned SO FAR. Scientist don’t know what they haven’t measured, like whether vaccines may have some subtle or not so subtle effects on our extremely complex immune systems. Autoimmune diseases are increasingly common and science and medicine knows little about them or why the body would attack itself. The scientific concept that if something is good, then more if it is even has some serious flaws. There is also the serious concern of money corrupting both science and medicine.

    The idea that if you question the practice of medicine you are illogical is very ideological, not logical. There are TONS of examples where science and medicine have led us astray. If you aren’t at least wary, you aren’t paying attention.

  19. I think the majority of you would be interested in hearing some ‘behind the curtains’ information on this particular show and subject. There were a few doctors and other experts who were interviewed for this post (including the well-known and well-respected Dr. Sears, as well as Dr. Jay Gordon) who are very well educated on the subject (and are MDs as well) who support our decision not to vaccinate our children. They were interviewed, BUT, all their content was pulled and omitted from the show. What an outrage!

    I have Dr. Gordon’s personal letter posted on my website here: http://www.naturalbabypros.com/shame-pbs-frontline-show-vaccine-war-jay-gordon-md-faap

    I highly suggest you read this post and letter from Dr. Gordon himself, and follow up with PBS/Frontline with your thoughts and responses.


    Jen Aliano

    Founder Naturalbabypros.com

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