A newly updated version of the 2010 Frontline documentary The Vaccine War aired on Tuesday March 24, 2015.
The PBS special chronicled the work of Dr. Cynthia Cristofani, a pediatric intensivist in Portland Oregon, who has made it her mission to document rare cases of vaccine-preventable illness through the use of video.
Cristofani wants to use the footage to teach other medical professionals how to recognize eradicated diseases and educate parents about why they entail, Frontline reported.
Thanks to widespread vaccination, diseases like mumps and polio are no longer a major concern in our society. But the growing anti-vaccination movement, fueled by vaccine injury concerns, may increase the likelihood of these diseases making a comeback. The recent measles outbreak is a prime example of what can happen when a large portion of a population is not vaccinated.
Vaccinated children protect not only themselves, but also unvaccinated children through “herd immunity.” This theory explained on Vaccines.org suggests that if most members of a community are vaccinated, the disease is contained, but it will spread if no members are immunized. With more Americans choosing not to vaccinate their kids, diseases like measles are more likely to spread.
Dr. Cristofani is concerned that modern doctors may not be able to recognize old-world vaccine-preventable illnesses if they re-submerge.
“The community recollection for these diseases has largely disappeared, and so the parents of younger kids who are of vaccine age are unlikely to have had any personal experience,” Cristofani said. “Unless the grandparents or others can tell them what it was like and happen to have had knowledge of somebody who had a severe complication, it’s easy to imagine that these diseases are eradicated.”