By Darlene Donloe
Depending on what side of the fence you’re on, either the MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) vaccine is causing autism in children, or it isn’t!
It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.
There’s evidence that points to the possibilities and probabilities of it being the cause. There are also experts, medical professionals and naysayers who debunk the entire notion.
The possibilities, probabilities and notions are all addressed and explored in Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe, a new, controversial documentary about the dangers of vaccinations, the relationship between vaccines and autism and a possible government cover-up.
The documentary raises any number of questions.
To be fair, not every child who is vaccinated becomes autistic. However, after watching this documentary, it’s clear that there are too many stories to ignore the relationship between the two.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield
According to Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British medical professional (gastroenterologist) and researcher who has determined there is a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism, “the younger a child gets the vaccine, the higher the risk.”
“I had looked in great detail at the safety studies of MMR,” said Wakefield. “I became very, very concerned that those studies were totally inadequate. Now, this is not just my opinion, because subsequently, what is called the Cochrane Review, which is one of the gold standard reviews of the medical literature, has come forward and said the same thing. Their words were that the safety studies, the pre-licensing safety studies of MMR vaccine were largely inadequate, particularly compared with the single vaccines. In other words, the safety studies of the single vaccines were better.”
Many in the medical community and, allegedly some journalists, have vilified Wakefield for his controversial findings because he joined the litigation against and spoke out about the pharmaceutical manufacturers. There are also allegations that he’s being paid by a government funded compensation program to come out against the MMR vaccine. He denies that notion.
Wakefield insists he is not against vaccinations, as such. In fact, he has suggested that parents opt for the single vaccine. However, reportedly, after a 1998 Lancet report (the prestigious English medical journal), the vaccine manufacturers (Merck and GlaxoKlineSmith) stopped making single vaccines available in the marketplace, thus forcing everyone to take the MMR.
“The Lancet Study itself arose out of seeing many of these children with the same presentation,” said Wakefield. “Normal development, regression, and autism spectrum diagnosis, gastrointestinal symptoms, and bowel inflammation.”
Sheila Ealey isn’t afraid to talk about it. She is telling her story to anybody who will listen and what a story it is. Her hope is that no other parent will go through the nightmare she has endured.
Every parent wants their child to be protected from childhood diseases. Most parents trust when the government tells them that vaccinating their school bound child is not only necessary, it’s the right thing to do.
Ealey thought she was doing the right thing when she took her twin daughter and son for their vaccinations. Her son was the only one to get vaccinated and almost immediately Ealey saw a change in him. He regressed into autism.
High fever, seizures, loss of speech and language and prolonged sleep are just some of the symptoms.
Ealey’s story is just one of the heartbreaking tales of what some parents and medical professionals consider a betrayal. A New Orleans native, Ealey currently runs a school in her city for kids with autism. She set up the Creative Learning Center of Louisiana school for special needs kids, in part, to help her autistic son, Temple. The day the school was set to open, Hurricane Katrina swept through and it was leveled. Temporarily, Ealey relocated to Houston, but is now back in New Orleans.
Vaxxed attempts to expose some glaring facts that are being swept under the medical community’s rugs. The documentary gained steam, but caused a bit of stir earlier this year when it was accepted, then disinvited by the Tribeca Film Festival, co-founded by Robert De Niro in 2001. De Niro recently revealed that his son is autistic.
On March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This, reportedly, is an increase from 50 years ago when the disease was virtually unknown and even from as little at 25 years ago when the dramatic spike in autism began.
According to the documentary - What little is known about the autism phenomenon is that the huge increase in cases occurred with the introduction of the MMR vaccine. Also, what is not widely known – but which “Vaxxed” documents – is that a CDC study found what it called “The African American Effect,” meaning black children are disproportionately affected by autism, indeed, twice as common per capita for African American children as for white children.
Sheila Ealey and Dr. Andrew Wakefield
I recently caught up with Sheila Ealey and Dr. Andrew Wakefield to talk about the film.
Dr. Wakefield (DAW), dressed is casual jeans and a shirt, is a laid-back chap who chooses his words carefully, but is very deliberate in his delivery.
Ealey (SE), donned in a black dress, white coat and sparkly jewelry, is a petite, wide-eyed beauty with long, flowing locks and a feisty spitfire personality.
Both Ealey and Dr. Wakefield say they are determined to warn everyone about the alleged danger of vaccinating children.
Following is that poignant conversation.
DD: Do you believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) covered up data that the MMR vaccine may contribute to autism in children?
SE: I know it, it’s there. Dr. Thompson (a Center for Disease Control whistleblower) provided evidence. You can’t refute facts.
* Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the CDC. Hooker says, during recorded phone calls, Thompson admitted to excluding vital data about the MMR study. Thompson ultimately released a statement via his attorneys in 2014 admitting he and his colleagues omitted statistically significant information from a 2004 pediatrics study regarding the timing between the administration of the MMR vaccine and the onset of autism in children. The data, which Thompson said was largely discarded, showed the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.
DD: When you first heard about what may have caused your son’s autism, whatyou’re your thought?
SE: It’s what I‘ve known all along. I’ll be honest. I asked the Lord, in my lifetime let the truth be revealed. Who knows how long its going to be before info gets out? I thought to myself it might be 10-15 years.
DD: How did you get involved with this documentary?
SE: Last year my friend said ‘Dr. Wakefield
Wakefield is looking for you. He’s doing a documentary.’ What I initially thought, because it was an unknown project, I thought it was going to the Autism Media Channel. Then, this year I got a phone call saying Robert De Niro wants to screen it at Tribeca. It has become much larger. What I’ve come to realize is, this is a movement that’s been driven by prayers and a whole lot of other parent’s prayers. I understood without evidence that the MMR loaded the gun and pulled the trigger on our children.
DD: What is your hope for this documentary?
SE: This doesn’t do anything for my son. There is no financial gain. This is a mission to save other children. When you’re in a community continuing to see autistic children….. I never saw it before my child got it. I had never seen any child with that condition. Since then, you can hardly go in the mall or walk down the street. The system is overrun with children with autism. Autism has no respect of race, color or creed or socio economic status.
DD: Lets start from the beginning. You took your two children to get vaccinated. Only your son received the shot, or rather a double MMR shot. Before he got the shots – everything was OK. Talk to me about what happened after he received the shot.
SE: I took my three children to get their shots. I put Temple on the table first. The shots were always lined up. She had the HIB, the DTaP and the MMR for each child. I put him on the table first. He got the tdap (vaccine), and his MMR. I had to look down because Lucinda had flipped herself over in the stroller. What happened was, she finagled herself away and flipped herself over. I had to stop watching what the nurse was doing and comfort her. So I stopped watching what the nurse was doing. When I looked up she had given Temple both of the MMRs along with the DTaP and the HIB.Then I noticed one of Lucinda’s shots was gone. I asked the nurse. She said, ‘oh my goodness.’ She had given it to Temple. She was negligent and didn’t do her job. I was furious. The next morning, he was not responsive anymore.
DD: Was he immediately diagnosed with autism?
SE: No, it took me until he was 18 months to get a diagnosis of autism for him.
DD: In your mind, is there any scenario you can think of where the vaccination had nothing to do with your son’s autism?
SE: I am 100 percent positive it was the shots. I have talked to hundreds of parents. We all have the same story. There is nothing different about our stories. When I heard about Dr. Wakefield’s research in 2004, I thought, ‘You mean this info has been out since 1998?’
It’s strictly greed. It’s about the money.
DD: What happened with your daughter?
SE: Oh, no! I refused to give her the vaccine. She didn’t get it and she’s fine.
DD: Why did you want to be part of the documentary?
SE:I know what his work is about. I know about his crusade. I knew parents would see it in other countries and here and the word would get out and get spread. Look at this and see what has happened. In the autism community you are so busy dealing with school systems and insurance companies, you’ve go to manage funding. It’s one of the most expensive disorders ever. We have the highest rate of divorce - 95 percent.” I did Vaxxed because the info needed to get out there. I’m not paid for anything that was in the movie. I am a parent and I will say, NO. That one shot in the dark can change your life forever.
DD: Why haven’t you sued?
SE: No active duty member can sue the military. We would have had to sue the military and because my husband is military, we can’t. He retired in 2005.
I tried to sue vaccine in jury court. I went and filled out paperwork for that. I tried to sue Merck. They’ve have immunity since 1986. Vaccines are protected.
DD: Did you get a settlement from the negligence of the nurse.
SE: I find out through the lawyer who I hired to sue Merck, that they were being bombarded. They agreed to take on 5,000 cases. Omnibus against Merck. Temple was one of the kids. It lingered and lingered until it was thrown out. It had something to do with the Homeland Security Act.
DD: Tell me more about your life.
SE: When Katrina roared through we were homeless. I ended up in Austin. It was 2007 when I got back to New Orleans. The kids were devastated they couldn’t go home.
When you move from one place to another in the military, you have to take your records with you because they don’t get transferred.
Well, when we got back, I couldn’t find Temple’s papers. We came home. The records had been locked up. Someone went into our apartment and took his records. They didn’t take anything else but his records. They wanted me to know they took them. The house was neat. That’s when I knew I was walking a dangerous path. I have to pray about what’s going on here. That was the second incident. I have a friend who was my partner and we had been all over the news in New Orleans about the school. The school was under water. I screamed because I lost it all.
SE: (a stoic look)
DD: Allegedly, there is an overabundance of African American boys becoming autistic if they receive the MMR before the age of 3. Is that your understanding? Talk to me about what it’s been like raising your son?
SE: I have a grounded faith. I believe it when the bible tells me to believe without seeing. To ask and it shall be given. To know and seek and it will be given. I believe faith without works is dead. I have to get up everyday and show up. I truly believe that.
DD: Describe what your life has been like. What is life like with an autistic child?
SE: It changed the course of my life. This is not the path I saw myself on. Not the direction I was going in. I wasn’t even on the road anymore. Having children didn’t come easy for me. It was laborious and painful. I didn’t know I had a form of muscular dystrophy. All my children are gifts. I wish I had the instinct to ask for the inserts on those vaccinations. The inserts listed the ingredients. As a Christian woman back then, I wouldn’t have injected those in to my children. I would implore every parent to ask for the insert. Take your time and read it and have a conversation with your doctor. Ask them, ‘Would you inject this into your body?’ What are the repercussions if I inject this into my child. There is no going back. People hear all the time that autism is reversible and that it’s recoverable. For the majority of us out here it’s not. We are going to pay on the front end or the back end.
DD: What do you mean?
SE: We’re going to end up with cities of autism.
Sheila Ealey and her son, Temple
DD: How long has it been?
SE: It’s been 16 years now. I lost my son that day and that day happened to be my birthday. August 2, 2000. My birthday. Everyday I’m thankful I’m still living.
DD: Do you worry about what will happen to him when you’re gone?
SE: I don’t’ worry about dying. I know what the other side looks like. I need to see how far I can bring my son before I leave this son.
Temple, he’s forever five. He’s joyful, happy, he lives his life for his opportunity to go to Disneyworld. He loves to spend time with his dad at Target. He loves school. He’s so much better. He functions academically 4-8th grades. Pronouns mean nothing to him. His writing is primitive. Mitochondrial disease, his are damaged.
DD: Black children, particularly boys and autism. I’m sure you’ve done a ton of research. What is the deal?
SE: Several reasons. Could be that African Americans are susceptible. Could be a genetic reason. What’s the evidence for that? If you look at individuals in the Horn of Africa, there is a high incidence of a gene and a rapid depletion of vitamin D. This is happening in a place where you have lots of sunshine. It shouldn’t be a problem because there is lots of sun. The other reason, which is not genetics that one of the requirements in that you get your child vaccinated or you don’t get the social welfare. If you don’t do it on time you don’t get it. It’s the children between 12-18 months who are getting the vaccine when they are at high risk.
DD: What is your next plan of action?
SE: First is to get more people to go the theater. Why? Every time you pack a theater, the theater looks at the attendance and then they say they want the film. Regal Theaters is now showing the film. Now you’ve got a movement. Next is the international market.
We now have this opening in China.
DD: Dr. Wakefield, would love for you to chime in. What can the public do? People who aren’t directly affected by this – probably just don’t get it.
DAW: If you think it doesn’t affect you now, it will.
DD: What can the public do?
DAW: Contact your congressman to ask him or her to force congress to subpoena Dr. Thompson. He has to be subpoenaed. I’m delighted that one person can make a difference in the world. Dr. Thompson can make a difference. These massive institutions can be brought down. America is beginning to wake up.
DD: It’s been years. Why do you think he hasn’t been subpoenaed?
DAW: They haven’t done it so far because they are terrified. We also need to repeal a vaccine act – not being able to sue. We have to offer parents a single dose of the vaccine. When you put the three together it seems to have an adverse reaction. Give parents a choice of single vaccines.
DD: Dr. Wakefield, what do you tell parents about vaccines?
DAW: My position is I don’t give advice on vaccination. It should be your choice as a patient. All I can say is if I were a new father today, would I give him any vaccines? NO! I now know what we’ve been told is a lie. If they’ve lied to me about this, what else have they lied about. I’ll take my chances with nature.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield
DD: What would you like to see with the CDC?
DAW: Vaccine safety testing is removed from CDC and put in an independent away from the pharmaceutical industry or agency. It needs to be completely separated.
DD: What is the one thing someone reading this story should know?
DAW: We’re now dealing with kids who are developing normally and then something happens. The pattern of the disease has changed. The lesson to take away from all of this – is that you listen to the patient or the patient’s mother. They will give you the clue to what happened. Thompson’s story tells us that Sheila was right all along. There is so much we do not know.
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe is currently in theaters. Running time: 91 min.
(Documentary) Directed by Andrew Wakefield. Written by Wakefield, Del Bigtree. A Cinema Libre Studio release of an Autism Media Channel/Del Bigtree production. Produced by Del Bigtree, Polly Tommey, Andrew Wakefield, Brian Burrowes. Executive producer, Casey Coates Danson. Co-producers, Lee Nestor-Bigtree, Kelly Gallagher, Rana Joy Glickman. Camera (color), Brian Burrowes, Wael Shukha, Tanayia Koonce, Imogen Wakefield, Erik Nanstiel, Mark Roethke, Andrew Debosz, Kelly Gallagher, Jenn Sherry Parry; editor, Brian Burrowes; music, Francesco Lupica; sound, Chris Haire, Alexey Mohr; associate producer, Dawna Shuman.