By Lauren DiSpirito
DENVER (CBS4)– After being pulled from film festival line ups in Houston and New York, “Vaxxed: from Cover-Up to Catastrophe” is now playing on the big screen in Denver.
After seeing his son Eric suffer, and hearing about the film, Ronnie Prine of Littleton said he wrote to Landmark and ask that the film be shown at one of its theaters. Vaxxed opened Friday at the Esquire Theatre on Downing Street in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
“My son Eric has a lot to do with that,” Prine said, “When I sent out the email to Landmark, I had no idea they would respond as quickly as they did.”
In 2014 Eric passed away at the age of 22, after suffering for years with a disability Prine says was caused by a vaccine. He says he and his wife noticed changes in Eric shortly after he received vaccinations in 1991, when he was 6½ months old.
“We weren’t expecting seizures to follow and for him to be as disabled as he was,” Prine said. “I don’t want other parents to go into vaccinating their kids blindly like we did.”
Vaxxed purports to show a link between vaccines and autism and alleges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent covered up knowledge of the link. The medical community as a whole, however, has raised questions about the film’s credibility.
Andrew Wakefield, the former British physician who created the film and the study on which it is based has been discredited, says Dr. Larry Wolk, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Education.
“Even though it is being shown on a very limited release, it is still something that I think can be very misleading,” Wolk said. “In the opinion of the scientific or medical community, and certainly my opinion, it’s really more fiction or sort of a trumped up documentary than truly something that is balanced and fact based.”
In March, organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival pulled Vaxxed from its lineup, as did leaders of a film festival in Houston.
“I think people can see it, but I think they need to see it for what it is, and it’s not a documentary,” Wolk said.
Debi Blaisch of Pagosa Springs says she re-routed her travel plans when she learned the film was showing in Denver. After driving for hours, she made it to the Esquire Theater for a 2:15 p.m Friday showing.
“I totally believe in being vaccine free,” Blaisch said. “It’s really important.”
Blaisch thinks criticism of Vaxxed will only encourage more people to see the film,”It is based in fact, and people are just getting fed information, if you read through our medical literature, it’s from drug companies.”
Prine says he wants people to be able see the film and decide for themselves.
“We all need to be open minded, follow our hearts and our guts, and decide for ourselves.”