Anti-vaccine film prevented from being screened at Pleasance

An anti-vaccine (or ‘antivaxx’) film ‘Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth’ was set to be screened on Saturday 22 February in Pleasance, an Edinburgh University Students’ Association venue, according to Edinburgh Evening News, who found an Eventbrite page to the screening.

The film is the sequel to an anti-vaxx film, ‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastorphe,’ directed by discredited researcher Dr Andrew Wakefield, who was struck off the UK medical register in 2010 for his fraudulent research showing a link between the MMR vaccine and autism Wakefield’s research was published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998, but was retracted in 2010 after the General Medical Council found that some elements of the article were were falsified.

However, anti-vaxxers, people who are against vaccinations, continue to look to Wakefield’s findings to highlight the negative effects of vaccination.

Both films legitimise Wakefield’s fraudulent findings on the link between vaccines and autism.

The news caused unrest among the Edinburgh population, also leading to a person on the community Facebook page Meadows Share informing readers about the upcoming screening, urging readers to write a letter to relevant Students’ Association emails.

The letter would have highlighted ethical concerns with The screening of the film, given that Wakefield “only studied 12 children,” was “found to have lied about the reactions those children had to vaccinations after the parents were interviewed at a later date, and based [his findings] on an ableist ideology that autism is a worse risk than the risk of death to your own child or those who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.”

The letter would then have continued to highlight that “Wakefield’s advice has been linked to outbreaks of previously suppressed disaeses,” and that “deliberately spreading disinformation” is a “public health risk,” given the “recent outbreak of mumps in Edinburgh.”

In response to this unrest, the Student’s Association released a statement on Friday 21 February, which denied claims that the event was going to take place in their venue, and explicitly condemned the film: “Further to a number of queries about a screening of Vaxxed II being advertised online as being held at Pleasance on Saturday 22 February, we would like to reassure people that we do not have a booking for this event, nor is content like this something we would support.”

Student’s Association venues can be reserved after submitting a room booking request to the University Timetabling Unit, with sufficient notice and information about the event and external speaker. Without the Student’s Association approving the booking, the event cannot take place in their venues.

Following this statement, the Meadows Share poster has edited the post asking readers to refrain from emailing Student’s Association personnel, but warning that:

“The original event post stating the film will be shown in Edinburgh this weekend in a private Facebook group is still active. I will not be naming the woman who posted it here, but I would ask that if you see any marketing by theatres in your area, that you email them and urge them not to show the film.”

It is unclear whether the event has been cancelled and whether they are screening the film at an alternate location instead.

The film has previously been screened in the UK i a councilowned venue in Notting Hill, West London.

Regarding this, NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said:

“Vaccines remain the best chance people have of protecting themselves and their children against deadly diseases.

“The NHS is taking action to drive uptake of essential jabs but con artists and charlatans peddling fake news and other dangerous content online and elsewhere in the media, not only make it harder for families to stay safe but risk the health of our whole society.”


Image: PhotoLizM via Pixabay

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