Examining the emotionally charged debate over medical risks versus benefits and a parent's right to make choices about her child versus a communities common good.
(Originally broadcast in April, 2010)
Vaccines have changed the world, largely eradicating a series of terrible diseases, from smallpox to polio to diphtheria, and likely adding decades to most of our life spans. But despite the gains — and numerous scientific studies indicating vaccine safety — a growing movement of parents remains fearful of vaccines. And in some American communities, significant numbers of parents have been rejecting vaccines altogether, raising new concerns about the return of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough.
In The Vaccine War FRONTLINE lays bare the science of vaccine safety and examines the increasingly bitter debate between the public health establishment and a formidable populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists who are armed with the latest social media tools — including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — and are determined to resist pressure from the medical and public health establishments to vaccinate, despite established scientific consensus about vaccine safety.