On 22 May a celebrated Māori doctor interrupted a special viewing of a controversial anti-vaccination documentary playing at a theatre in Kaitaia in New Zealand's Far North District this week.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan took to the stage, warning audience members watching the documentary called "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" about the dangers of the message behind the American documentary that attempts to link vaccines to autism.

"When I heard they were coming into town, there was no way I was going to let them come and peddle this misinformation and falsehood on my watch," expressed Dr O'Sullivan.

Event organisers had invited O'Sullivan – who was named 2014's New Zealander of the Year for increasing access to healthcare for children and underprivileged communities in New Zealand – to the screening, but he made it very clear to the audience that he was not there to watch the documentary.

"I come here with a lot of anger," said Dr O'Sullivan in the video after walking on to the stage. "That's because I am adamantly opposed to this because this position, this idea of anti-immunisation has killed children around the world and actually will continue to kill children... whose parents have put off immunisation because of misinformation – misinformation based on lies, quite frankly."

He added, "Your presence here will cause children to die."

“Your presence here will cause babies to die" – Dr Lance O'Sullivan has vented fury at an anti-immunisation group. Video credit: Bullshido.net

Film received much criticism previously


This was not the first time that the film directed by former doctor Andrew Wakefield received criticism.

Last year March, the Tribeca Film Festival received a lot of heat for its choice to include the documentary in its line-up, of which it responded that the festival was "about dialogue and discussion" and over the years, "many films from opposing sides of an issue" were presented.

"We are a forum, not a judge," it said.

The choice was made as the documentary, "features revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what's behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today."

More recently, Wakefield attended a secretive screening of his documentary organised by the Centre for Homeopathic Education, which was held at Regent's University London.

The university said "The name and content of last night's film was not disclosed to us, as a result we are re-vetting all clients and acting accordingly."

Wakefield's appearance was surprising as he was not seen in the UK since 2010 when he was found guilty of serious professional misconduct over the methods used in the Lancet study.

Wakefield's conspiracies live on till today


He was also struck off the medical register after it was found that he misrepresented or altered patients' medical histories in his controversial 1998 study that suggested the MMR vaccine was linked to autism.

The following weeks after the publication of the paper, saw scientists, doctors and public health experts point out the multiple weaknesses in his paper.

However, the damage was done, with the after-effects rippling on till today. Vaccinations declined not only for the MMR vaccine but for other illnesses for which perfectly safe inoculations exist.

The UK National Autistic Society slammed Wakefield for premiering his documentary in London.

"Much research has been dedicated to exploring whether there is a link between autism and vaccines, and the result have repeatedly shown there is none," said Carol Povey, director of the society's Centre for Autism.

The original study has also been retracted by the Lancet. MIMS

Read more:
4 irrational medical conspiracy theories and their origins
Doctor who promoted anti-vaccine claims to face disciplinary action
Most Americans believe in vaccines; What is Trump going to do about it?

Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doctor-lance-osullivan-vaxxed-protest_us_59262ef6e4b0265790f4f5e7
http://www.businessinsider.my/tribeca-film-festival-premiers-andrew-wakefield-documentary-2015-2/?r=US&IR=T#rvEJllkVwZpd4gDp.97
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mmr-andrew-wakefield-fraud-doctor-anti-vaccine-film-return-uk-secret-screening-vaxxers-vaccinations-a7583021.html
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/health/2017/05/vaxxed-health-minister-jonathan-coleman-backs-doctor-s-stance.html