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FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War

Airs Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The vaccine war: On one side sit scientific medicine and the public health establishment; on the other, a populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists.

Experience powerful investigative storytelling that answers only to you. From criminal justice to politics to global issues, the reporting of PBS’ flagship public affairs series FRONTLINE takes you inside the controversial, complex stories shaping our times.

What Are Your Attitudes on Vaccinations for Infants and Children?

Answer these five questions, which have been adapted from a national survey conducted in February 2010. Then scroll down and see displayed in RED how your answers match with respondents to the national survey.

Actor Jenny McCarthy, an advocate for the elimination of toxins from children’s vaccines, holds a photo of her son Evan, who suffers from autism, at the Green Our Vaccines March with actor Jim Carrey and Carrey’s daughter Jane.
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Above: Actor Jenny McCarthy, an advocate for the elimination of toxins from children’s vaccines, holds a photo of her son Evan, who suffers from autism, at the Green Our Vaccines March with actor Jim Carrey and Carrey’s daughter Jane.

"The Vaccine War" - Public health scientists and clinicians tout vaccines as one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. But for many ordinary Americans vaccines have become controversial. Young parents are concerned at the sheer number of shots — some 26 inoculations for 14 different diseases by age six — and follow alternative vaccination schedules advocated by gurus like Dr. Robert Sears.

Other parents go further. In communities like Ashland, Oregon, up to one-third of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids at all. And some advocacy groups, like Generation Rescue, argue that vaccines are no longer a public health miracle but a scourge; they view vaccines as responsible for alarming rises in certain disorders, including ADHD and autism.

This is the vaccine war: On one side sits scientific medicine and the public health establishment; on the other a populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists. It’s a war that increasingly takes place on the Internet with both sides using the latest social media tools, including Facebook and Twitter, to win the hearts and minds of the public.

This program originally aired in 2010.

Past episodes of FRONTLINE are available for online viewing. FRONTLINE is on Facebook, Instagram and you can follow @frontlinepbs on Twitter.

Video

FRONTLINE: The Vaccine War Preview

Above: Public health scientists and clinicians tout vaccines as one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. But for many ordinary Americans vaccines have become controversial. This is the vaccine war: On one side sits scientific medicine and the public health establishment; on the other a populist coalition of parents, celebrities, politicians and activists.