A protest was held outside of the screenings of a controversial anti-vaccination film in Bedford, N.S. Friday night.
There were two planned screenings of Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth at the LeBrun Recreation Centre.
The film is billed as “an exploration into a possible link between various vaccinations and illness, injury, and death” and premiered in secret screenings across the United States in November.
But the film has come under fire, with many saying it promotes the unfounded claim that vaccines cause autism.
Earlier this week, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said the film is a “marketing tool for vaccine misinformation.”
Alex Kronstein, who lives with autism and planned Friday night’s protest, says the film promotes a false narrative around his own condition.
“Vaccines do not cause autism,” Kronstein said. “That theory’s been discredited how many times?
“The whole idea that vaccines cause autism, it promotes a lot of stigma and hatred towards autistic people.”
Terra-Lynn Coggan, who claims to have two vaccine-injured children and be vaccine-injured herself, attended Friday’s film screenings. She says the film isn’t specifically about autism.
“It encompasses a number of adverse reactions that were experienced by individuals and their loved ones,” she said.
The Halifax Regional Municipality says the Banquet Room in the LeBrun Recreation Centre was originally booked by an individual for $345.
The HRM says it was later brought to their attention that the space was booked for a film screening.
However, the municipality determined it would not cancel the film’s screening, as its terms and conditions were not found to be breached.
Kronstein was hoping the HRM would have taken further action once it learned of the film screenings and the movie’s contents.
“A lot of people are throwing around the whole free speech, free expression argument, but we would like to see the bar raised a little bit higher,” Kronstein said.
Multiple studies, including one that involved nearly every child born in Denmark over an 11-year period, have shown that there is no link between autism and vaccination.
The original study that sparked the debunked claim was published in the journal the Lancet in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield and linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism.