The controversial film Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe is screening in Tauranga tomorrow.

While the whereabouts of screenings in other cities were shrouded in secrecy - only letting ticket holders know the movie's venue three hours ahead - Tauranga organisers announced the location and time days ahead of the screening.

The film alleges the United States' Centres for Disease Control and Prevention covered up research proving autism is linked to vaccinations.

The director of the film, Andrew Wakefield, is a former British doctor struck off the medical register over an unethical study.


His 1998 research paper in the Lancet argued the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine could be linked to autism and bowel disorders.

He was deregistered in 2010 when a medical tribunal found him guilty of dishonesty and said he had subjected children to unnecessary procedures.

Soon after, the Lancet retracted the 1998 paper.

Bay of Plenty health authorities have strongly criticised the film, but the organiser behind the screening says it is not anti-vaccination, rather it supports safe vaccination.

Toi Te Ora Public Health chief medical officer Dr Phil Shoemack said the film was a "piece of Hollywood theatre" and "fiction with no substance to it".

He said the MMR vaccine quite clearly did not have links to autism and any such suggestion was not based on fact or science.

Children could be harmed if parents believed the film and were influenced not to vaccinate their children.

Dr Shoemack said that when it came to vaccinations, parents should consult with health professionals - either their GP, a practice nurse or a midwife.


As for the idea that autism was becoming more widespread, Dr Shoemack said it was true more children were being diagnosed with autism, but that did not mean there was more of it - rather it was not as recognised in the past.

The University of Auckland's director of immunisation research, Helen Petousis-Harris, was scathing in her criticism of the film - saying it had as much substance "as [the movie]

She said vaccines were the safest medicines known and the claim that they caused autism had zero scientific support.

"Several things to consider are the impact your choice has on not only your own child but others in the community. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be catastrophic," Dr Petousis-Harris said.

The screening's organiser, Truly Godfrey, insisted the film was not anti-vaccination.

"It's about safe vaccinations."

One of the main messages of the film was the need to split the MMR vaccine into three separate vaccines.

"With measles on its own there's no problem in terms of causing autism, but with all three combined there's a problem, but the manufacturers don't want to do that."

Ms Godfrey said the film had an important message.

Already they had screened it last Sunday to a full house.

"I think we were preaching to the choir, there was no one in the room which was anti the message, it was a very peaceful event," she said.

The manager of BOP Environmental Health Clinic said her own children were not vaccinated after her own research and that of her father, who is a retired GP in Tauranga.

Tickets are available from and the film will play at 6pm tomorrow at Rialto Theatre in Tauranga.