Fifteen years ago, it certainly wouldn’t have seemed likely to your average fan of MTV’s Singled Out, but Jenny McCarthy has become the most recognizable public face of the anti-vaccine movement, owing to her eight-year-old autistic son, and belief that overly aggressive vaccinations play a part in the onset and spread of autism. So it comes to be that she’s on the cover of The Vaccine War, along with then-boyfriend Jim Carrey.
A one-hour documentary, The Vaccine War goes behind the lines in a growing national debate over vaccines and their impact on our health. Public health scientists and clinicians tout vaccines as one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, but for many ordinary Americans vaccines have become controversial. Young parents are concerned at the sheer number of shots — some two dozen or more inoculations for 14 different diseases by age six. Some advocacy groups, like McCarthy’s Generation Rescue, argue that vaccines are no longer a public health miracle but instead a scourge — responsible for alarming rises in disorders like ADHD and autism. With scientific medicine and the public health establishment on one side and a populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists on the other, it’s a din unlikely to die down any time soon. While short on concrete answers, The Vaccine War provides ample platform for debate, and at least sparks thought and lively conversation. If those things are of interest to you, you might be intrigued by this title.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, The Vaccine War comes to DVD with an English language Dolby stereo audio track. There are unfortunately no supplemental bonus features, save some recommended Internet links. To order a copy of the documentary, phone (800) PLAY-PBS, or click here. Alternately, to purchase the DVD via Amazon, meanwhile, click here. B (Movie) D (Disc)