Controversial anti-vaccine movie screening at Scottish village hall cancelled

A showing of a controversial anti-vaccination documentary featuring discredited physician Dr Andrew Wakefield that was set to take place in a Scottish village has been cancelled.

The original booking was made under the guise of a “health and well-being” event by a group who were looking to screen Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth – the second of two films relying on research from Wakefield. He was struck off the UK medical register in 2010 for offences relating to dishonesty and failing to act in the best interests of vulnerable child patients.

The event was planned for 29 February at the Dunlop Village Hall, near Kilmarnock, but the board who run the venue made their decision after finding out about the real reason for the booking.

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Convenor Douglas Bell said the community company decided to look more closely at the original booking after receiving contact from concerned people across the UK.

Dr Andrew Wakefield.Dr Andrew Wakefield.
Dr Andrew Wakefield.

He said: “We were not aware as a board of directors running the hall on behalf of the community as we do not go through every booking. We’ve tried to keep any personal feelings about Dr Andrew Wakefield or the anti-vaxx campaign out of our reasoning as we didn’t want to be seen to be censoring what’s going on in the hall.

Missed vaccinations

“We had a board meeting on Tuesday night, which was scheduled anyway and this was brought up. Our reason for pulling the plug on it was because, not a threat, but implications in some of the content we had that there could possibly be a demonstration against the film.

“With the attended police, media and all the rest, we didn’t feel that we could subject a small rural Ayrshire village to this type of unrest and that was the main reason we pulled the plug on it – the possibility of civil unrest in the community.”

Wakefield triggered anxiety among parents over his suggestion in a paper published in the Lancet medical journal of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Many young adults missed out on the MMR after Dr Wakefield made the autism vaccine link in 1998.

A similar event with a planned showing of the documentary followed by a question-and-answer session is set to take place at the Greyfriars Charteris Centre in Edinburgh at 2pm today.

A source said: “I hope whoever has taken the booking to host the showing, very likely unknowingly and in good faith, will retract the booking. No-one should be platforming this harmful nonsense.”

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