Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, known for his previous work on “The Garden,” is diving into the subject of vaccines with his upcoming documentary, “Shot in the Arm.” The project originally began in the spring of 2019, focusing on the global measles epidemic. Kennedy filmed interviews with top public health officials, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Karen Ernst, Dr. Paul A. Offit, MD, Dr. Peter J. Hotez, MD, and Blima Marcus, DNP. The documentary also features rare verite footage and interviews with well-known anti-vaccine activists such as Robert Kennedy Jr., Andrew Wakefield, and Del Bigtree.
However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kennedy saw an opportunity to expand the scope of his film. He quickly shifted his focus to this once-in-a-century tragedy, examining vaccine hesitancy in the context of the current pandemic. The documentary explores the cultural zeitgeist of vaccine hesitancy historically and examines how disinformation can be seen as its own disease. Kennedy aims to challenge cynicism and bridge political divides that contribute to our society’s overall health.
One intriguing aspect of the film is its executive producer: Neil deGrasse Tyson, a vocal supporter of vaccines despite the limitations and controversies surrounding them in recent years. Dr. Peter Hotez, another prominent vaccine defender, is also featured in the documentary, although he has declined to debate individuals like Joe Rogan and Robert Kennedy Jr. on vaccine-related issues.
While the film showcases Robert Kennedy Jr., a presidential candidate and one of the most prominent vaccine skeptics, its primary selling point is the material related to COVID-19. Viewers eagerly await revelations regarding Dr. Fauci, who has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic, including accusations of lying about his agency’s funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Lab in China. The film also raises questions about the efficacy and impact of government lockdowns on society, particularly when it comes to the negative effects on children.
One interesting statement that the documentary may explore is Fauci’s previous comment that “the best vaccination is to get infected yourself.” Vaccine hesitancy became a significant concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions and statements of public health experts undoubtedly played a role in exacerbating the issue.
The release of “Shot in the Arm” is eagerly anticipated. The documentary will premiere at the Angelika Film Center on November 2 and at the Laemmle Cinemas on November 17 before expanding to other locations across the United States. However, the film has already experienced a bout of censorship when YouTube briefly flagged its trailer as “disinformation” before realizing their mistake.
As we wait for the film’s release, it remains to be seen how it will address the complex issues surrounding vaccines and vaccine hesitancy. With its focus on both pre and post-COVID 19 vaccines, “Shot in the Arm” has the potential to spark important conversations and shed light on the challenges faced by public health officials and vaccine skeptics alike.
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