Vaccine: a conversation

I live in an area of Sweden with a relatively high percentage of people who question the general vaccine program. I did not know this when I moved here, but I soon found out. It was one of the first things friends of mine would point out when I told them I’d moved here.

– So, I moved to Järna.
– Oh really, that’s great. Very quaint area. Too bad though about all those anti vaccine people.

When the above exchange had happened about ten times I started to get really curious. If there are people in Järna who question the vaccine program they must have a reason for it. Not to say necessarily that the reason is a good one, just to say they must have one.

Some of my friends have suggested the reason might be that they’re simply uneducated on the matter. Or that they’re gullable people susceptible to fake news. Maybe so. But it just didn’t strike me as very likely. And in addition, through all of my discussions and ponderings over this topic, an uneasy feeling started rising up within me: “What if it turns out they know something I don’t.”

I am not a doctor. Nor am I a scientist or a researcher with any special knowledge on the matter of vaccines. My opinion is formed by what I’m told by the authorities. If a vaccine program is recommended in my country, I’m going to assume it’s cleared all the tests, and has been deemed good for both individual and society.

But if there are pockets of people who challenge this program? And if I happen to live in such a pocket? Well, now! That just tickles my interest way too much to leave it alone! If there are people who claim it’s a good idea to be careful when it comes to vaccines, I want to hear their arguments. So that I can either dismiss them or take note of them.

I am not big on conspiracy theories. But I’ve come to realize one thing in my 47 years of life: Just because I’ve been told something, doesn’t necessarily make it true. As a matter of fact, a lot of things I’ve been told by people of authority during the course of my life have, in time, turned out to have a false ring about them. (This is something I outline in more detail in the film An Unlearning). Conducting myself in accordance with the rules and guidelines of “the way things are” throughout my childhood and adolesence never seemed to deliver the advertised “happiness”. And frankly, looking at the world around me, things don’t seem to be headed in the right direction. So there’s a decent chance that a lot of the things we’re being told are “normal” actually are steps in the wrong direction.

If there’s one thing I learned during the making of this film it is this: The danger lies not in the risk of being misled into trusting the wrong camp on this issue. The risk lies in believing that such a complex matter should have an answer as simple as yes or no.

To see a trailer, click here.

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