Documentary linking vaccines and autism dropped from Tribeca Film Festival

The film’s director and co-writer Andrew Wakefield had his medical license revoked

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Documentary film “Vaxxed: From Cover up to Catastrophe” argues that government interests have suppressed evidence of links between vaccines and autism. Doctor Stephen Turkovich of Women & Children’s Hospital says the film is based on flawed research.

“There’s absolutely no connection between vaccines and autism it’s been disproven numerous times through numerous studies of well over hundreds of thousands of children both in the United States and in Europe,” said Dr. Stephen Turkovich, Women & Children’s Hospital Chief Medical Officer.

Turkovich says few studies have even shown a potential decrease in risk of autism from getting vaccines. He says he agrees with Tribeca Film Festival co-owner Robert De Niro’s decision to pull the film from the lineup.
In a statement De Niro, who has a son with autism said, my intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. but after reviewing it we do not believe it contributes or furthers the discussion we had hoped for.

“A movie like this really will introduce doubt into people and there should be no doubt, the evidence has proven that there is no doubt,” said Turkovich.

He says vaccines have saved thousands of lives, and potentially discouraging people from getting vaccines out of fear could become a public health threat.

“To have a movie or a documentary that would deny children those vaccines because of the fear that it instills in people is really a disservice and it’s really unethical,” said Turkovich.

The film’s director and co-writer Andrew Wakefield had his medical license revoked in 2010, in part due to ethical violations.

There is still no known cause of autism. Doctor Turkovich says the increase in autism may potentially be due to doctors being able to better diagnose it early on.

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