I went spent about 10-12 years researching the issue, and then making a documentary on the issue, and the documentary is called The Greater Good. And it takes a look at both sides of the vaccine issue, and it helps people to understand what all the different perspectives are from physicians, pediatricians, many scientists in the field, and then of course, parents and consumer advocates.
Dr. Michael Karlfeldt: With me I have Leslie Manookian, she is producer of The Greater Good, which is a very powerful movie that I would highly suggest you watch. So, what drove you to produce this movie?
Leslie Manookian: Many many years ago, nearly 15 years ago, I heard that vaccines could cause harm. And I thought that was crazy, because I had always believed that vaccines had only positives. I didn’t think there was any potential downside.
Dr. K: But that’s how we protect ourselves from Hepatitis B, and because you can’t take antibiotics for it. You have to do vaccination.
LM: Well, supposedly. I think it’s a cultural belief that vaccines are only a good thing, and that they are responsible for the elimination of infectious diseases. And that’s not the full story. What happened was somebody told me that vaccines could cause harm, and I thought they were crazy, certifiable. And I thought, “You know, I’m going to go and find out for myself.”
So I went spent about 10-12 years researching the issue, and then making a documentary on the issue, and the documentary is called The Greater Good. And it takes a look at both sides of the vaccine issue, and it helps people to understand what all the different perspectives are from physicians, pediatricians, many scientists in the field, and then of course, parents and consumer advocates.
Dr. K: So this is a very research-based movie, obviously. You spent 10-12 years researching this. Should a child get vaccinated?
LM: First of all, I’m not a doctor. I would never give medical advice. I think it’s really important that people understand that vaccines can have an impact on disease, but they can also cause very serious harm. And we don’t understand how much harm they can cause because we haven’t done the science.
So, I think it’s really important. And our biggest focus from the film, and biggest message from the film is: inform yourself. It’s so important for people to go out and do their own research. Because you can’t sue a pharmaceutical company, you can’t sue a physician, or any vaccine-provider. You can’t sue anyone if a vaccine goes wrong. And unfortunately, vaccines have injured and killed thousands of people.
Dr. K: So here we have something protecting you from measles, but you have a risk of being killed.
LM: Absolutely. And what people don’t understand is that, that risk is not as small as people are told.
Dr. K: So when you are saying that we really don’t have the science, they haven’t done the research behind the vaccination theory, what do you mean with that?
LM: There are many things you need to be concerned about, and investigate for yourself when you make the decision about whether to vaccinate your child or yourself. First of all, no government official or pharmaceutical company has ever done a study investigating the long-term health outcomes of vaccinated children compared to un-vaccinated children; which seems to me to be the most basic study you’d ever want to do. But they’ve never done it. No large clinical study has ever been done, in that way.
The only thing that has been done are some informal surveys, and the results of those suggest that the vaccinated children are far less healthy than the un-vaccinated children.
Dr. K: Really?
LM: Yes, very much so. There have been three surveys that I know of, two of them are fairly large, that have found this situation. So basically there was a study done, looking at about 17,000 children, 12,000 families, in the U.S., it was a telephone survey. And it found that the boys who were vaccinated in that survey – we’re talking thousands of people – were two and a half times as likely to be autistic – if they’ve been vaccinated – than those who weren’t.
And then there’s been another survey done, that started in Germany, but it’s got data from many, many countries around the world. And I think it’s somewhere up to 8,000 or 10,000 people now, who have participated in it. And it’s found that the health outcomes of vaccinated children are far, far worse than the health outcomes of un-vaccinated children. Much higher levels – two to five times as much asthma, allergies, speech delays, and learning disabilities and all sorts of problems.
Dr. K: So it seems to me then, that vaccinations almost should be something that you’d want to stay away from?
LM: I think it’s really important that people understand that vaccines are a pharmaceutical product. Like any pharmaceutical product, and they carry risks. And it’s incumbent upon each and every one of us, as a parent, to investigate that, take responsibility, and then then make your own choice.
The reason I’m really reluctant to advise because I don’t know:
- Does someone feed their child well?
- Do they make sure the child gets lots of rest, and have a low stress environment?
- Are they happy and healthy?
There’s so many things. And the other thing is: what is that parent’s disposition towards Western Medicine? Are they inclined to only use antibiotics if their child is ill, and only use Western Medicine, or do they have a different perspective? And so I think it’s really important that each person make this decision.
But, let’s be really clear: vaccines injure and kill some kids. And your child might be one of them. And it’s important for you to understand that. And then make that choice if that’s what you want.
Dr. K: Exactly. If you want to have that risk. And if you are okay with that risk, recognize that the risk is there.
LM: Yeah. This is really important thing, I think, for people to understand. We are constantly hearing in the media how the measles vaccine, for instance, has saved millions and millions of American children’s lives.
The truth is, that the number of American children who were dying in the three or four years before the measles vaccine was introduced was 450. That’s it. 450 out of several hundred million people.
Let’s put this in context: five thousand innocent Americans walking down the street every year, are hit and killed by cars. 5000.
We’re talking about 450 people. I’m not saying that I want anybody to die from an infectious disease. But it’s important that we understand – it’s true that very few people die today from measles, almost none. But it was almost none already. It was 450 people. Whereas at the turn of the 20th century …
Dr. K: Out of 200 million people!
LM: Exactly! You you were almost as likely to get eaten by a shark or hit by lightening. Seriously.
Dr. K: Yeah, exactly. And there’s no vaccination for that yet!
LM: Exactly. And to put it in context, at the turn of the of the 20th century, the number was something like 15 to 20 thousand children were dying every year. So, what happened was that during the early part of the 20th century, we implemented all sorts of programs: public sanitation, hygiene – we started washing our hands – we got refrigerated foods, clean drinking water. And the rates of disease for ALL disease declined quite dramatically.
Scientists say 70, 80, 90% of the eradication of mortality from infectious disease occurred because of these public health measures, not because of vaccines.
Dr. K: So they are just trying to bring those two numbers together. One comment you were making, which was really interesting to me, you were saying that: boys are two and a half times more likely to develop autism if they were vaccinated. And autism seems to be … more and more children are suffering from it.
Dr. K: You said there was a recent study …
LM: What’s happened is, if you look at the early 1980s, about 1 in 10,000 children in America were diagnosed with autism. It was unheard of. 1 in 10,000 is fairly low.
Just about 10 days ago, two weeks ago maybe now, the CDC released new information stating that 1 in 68 children in America have autism. And the number is about 1 in 45 boys. Might be 1 in 42, I can’t remember exactly.
What’s important is, that is data from children who were born in 2002. And the prevalence of autism is determined on those 8-year olds. So, 8-year olds who were born in 2002. It’s 2014!
A telephone survey done by CDC in 2012, showed that 2% of all American children have autism. And the number is about 1 in 4 boys, 25% of all boys. So we’re talking staggering numbers.
Now, federal health officials, the U.S. government will tell you that there’s no connection between autism and vaccines. But that’s not the case according to the independent science, and it’s also not the case according to other branches of the U.S. government. The U.S. vaccine court has compensated families whose children developed encephalopathy, which is brain damage – inflammation leading to brain damage, that then lead to their autism.
But they say that vaccines don’t cause autism. I would call that semantics. They cause inflammation of the brain and brain damage, which leads to autism, but they don’t cause autism? I mean, let’s be honest.
And here’s the other piece: in 1983, the CDC was recommending that children receive 11 doses of 4 vaccines in their first year of life.
Today children receive 26 doses of 9 vaccines in their first year of life. And by age 6, they are receiving 48 doses of 14 vaccines.
In 1983 they were getting 22 doses of 7 vaccines.
Now, I think we’re both – can we say, middle aged?
Dr. K: Yeah, exactly.
LM: I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I was 19 years old in 1983, and children were not dying all the time. Children weren’t suffering from all of these infectious diseases.
Children weren’t getting hepatitis B vaccine and chicken pox vaccine, and HIB, and pneumococcal (pneumonia), and meningitis. They weren’t getting all these vaccines. And we did not have huge rates of mortality or morbidity from these infectious diseases.
So why are we doing this? And, we’ve seen this explosion in the rate of autism. Like I’ve said, from 1 in 10,000, to 1 in 4 boys?
Dr. K: That’s outrageous. Thank you Leslie. I think this is powerful, powerful information.