Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theater hosted the timely red carpet premiere of the anti-vaccine film Trace Amounts on Wednesday evening.The film challenges the safety of vaccines that may contain the potentially harmful preservative thimerosal. The film’s release comes in the middle of a measles outbreak that has put the debate over childhood vaccinations in the national spotlight.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion featuring, among others, pediatricians Dr. Robert W. Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon.
“Has the science been answered?” the Los Angeles Times recorded director Eric Gladen as saying. “This was me trying to get to the bottom of whether this is linked to autism.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states, “In August 2011, the IOM published a report thoroughly reviewing the current medical and scientific evidence on vaccines and certain health problems that may happen after vaccination. This report found the eight studied vaccines to be generally safe, and serious adverse events following these vaccinations to be rare.”
The CDC does note side effects of vaccination, including fever, rare allergic reactions–and, with the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, a documented an increase in cases of febrile seizures.
Electronic medical records reviewed in a study of California’s Bay area and Sonoma County vaccination rates revealed that graduate-level educated and low income communities hosted the highest levels of under-vaccinated children.
The CDC reports, “Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.”
As of Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has reported 115 confirmed cases of the measles. 99 of those cases have been reported in California, with 65 of those having a connection to the December Disneyland outbreak. CDPH has previously reported 16 cases outside of the state with connections to the Disneyland cases spread among six other states and Mexico; however, due to the fact that other states are not required to report their cases to California, the state has stopped reporting on those cases.
Measles is considered incredibly contagious, as droplets from the sneezes or coughs from infected persons can remain contagious for up to two hours outside the person’s body.
Measles was considered eliminated from the United States in the year 2000, according to the CDC. The majority of cases that have arisen in the U.S. since then have been connected to foreign sources, and most readily spread among the under-vaccinated.
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