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Press Release | Mar. 24 on FRONTLINE: Should Vaccinating Children Be A Choice?

March 12, 2015
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by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

With measles making a comeback,
FRONTLINE investigates the latest chapter in the war over vaccines

The Vaccine War
pbs.org/frontline/vaccine-war
Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015, at 10 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings)
www.facebook.com/frontline | Twitter: @frontlinepbs #VaccineWar
Instagram: @frontlinepbs | YouTube: youtube.com/frontline

In 2010, FRONTLINE reported on the warnings of doctors and public health experts that growing skepticism about vaccines could enable the return of preventable diseases once thought to be eliminated.

Now, those warnings appear to be coming true, with measles, mumps and whooping cough all making a comeback.

As the battle over vaccines rages, FRONTLINE continues its reporting with a newly updated and produced version of its original documentary The Vaccine War.

Building on years of research, the documentary, airing March 24, explores both the roots of the vaccine debate, and the latest chapter in the heated controversy: Are parents who choose not to vaccinate their children putting the health of our nation at risk? And why is there still fear about vaccines, in light of established scientific consensus that there is no link between vaccines and disorders like autism?

“Vaccines have changed the world, largely eradicating a series of terrible diseases, and likely adding decades to most of our life spans,” says FRONTLINE producer Jon Palfreman (Harvest of Fear, Sick Around the World, Sick Around America). “But some parents are determined to resist pressure from the medical and public health establishments to vaccinate.”

As FRONTLINE reports in The Vaccine War, their reasons are complex — involving their perceptions of medical risks and benefits, and also ideological beliefs about parenting, personal choice and the limits of government.

With the ongoing measles outbreak being linked back to Disneyland, the debate over whether parents should be allowed to opt out of vaccinating their children is more pressing than ever.

And, as FRONTLINE reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they are seeing an uptick in cases of other vaccine-preventable diseases.

What happens next?

From the unfolding legislative battle in Northern California over personal belief exemptions and whether children should be allowed to attend public schools if they are not vaccinated, to the growth of the vaccine-skeptic movement, to the struggles of health care providers trying to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, to the science at the heart of it all, The Vaccine War provides critical context for the latest headlines.

Drawing on interviews with parents and advocates on both sides of the issue, as well as doctors, leading scientists and public health experts, the documentary is a compelling and timely report on an issue that remains highly emotional and deeply divisive.

The Vaccine War airs Tuesday, March 24 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and will stream in full, for free, online at pbs.org/frontline.

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Credits
The Vaccine War is a FRONTLINE production with the Palfreman Film Group in association with Kate McMahon Productions LLC. The producers and directors are Jon Palfreman and Kate McMahon. The writer is Jon Palfreman. The deputy executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.

About FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 69 Emmy Awards and 16 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ to learn more. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Press Contacts
FRONTLINE: Patrice Taddonio, Patrice_taddonio@wgbh.org, @ptaddonio, 617.300.5375

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