Funded by Merck: A Documentary Film

The Information Missing From the Documentary Film: Hilleman: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children

Maurice Hilleman played an important role in the history of medicine and vaccines, but the details in the documentary are not accurate or balanced. They were crafted to glorify the concept of vaccination with the ultimate goal of the elimination of all exemptions, cradle-to-grave usage of an ever-growing product pipeline, and the vilification of anyone critical of products, policy, or the industry.

Vaccines did not pass through a period of research and development to become magic “safe and effective” elixirs; they are potent biological agents designed to provoke an immune response, administered most often during times of immune and neurological development, and capable of causing injury and death. The amount of injury and death may be disputed because we lack proper surveillance, but the fact they occur is undeniable.

Because of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act that now shields vaccine makers and all who administer vaccines from injury and death liability, there is a dangerous regulatory vacuum; while public health officials and health care providers are made to feel overly responsible for every case of a vaccine-targeted infection, there is no accountability anywhere for vaccine injury or vaccine failure. Neither industry nor the medical community bear any responsibility.

In a 2011 Supreme Court case that ruled that even flawed vaccine designs are protected from liability, Justice Sotomayor & Ginsburg dissented. Sotomayor wrote:

“The majority’s decision leaves a regulatory vacuum in which no one—neither the FDA nor any other federal agency, nor state and federal juries—ensures that vaccine manufacturers adequately take account of scientific and technological advancements. This concern is especially acute with respect to vaccines that have already been released and marketed to the public. Manufacturers, given the lack of robust competition in the vaccine market, will often have little or no incentive to improve the designs of vaccines that are already generating significant profit margins . . .”

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor

This is where we are today, with new science about genetics, epigenetics, the human microbiome and the complex immune-neurological connection not being factored into vaccine design or administration, with adverse reactions not being properly tracked, and with parental reports of injury being dismissed.

Key historical, scientific, and political facts have been left out of this film that reveal why today serious issues of vaccine safety, effectiveness, and unintended consequences exist.

Here is a sampling of the missing information. Please visit for in-depth information and hyperlinked citations.


The film opens with statistics and imagery of infectious disease from the early 1900s, implying that vaccines were responsible for the decline in morbidity and mortality from the targeted infections – but the history of the missing decades reveals something different.

A paper titled Annual Summary of Vital Statistics: Trends in the Health of Americans During the 20th Century, published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2000, credits improved sanitation, clean water, better access to nutritious foods as well as healthcare to the decline in infectious disease, saying: “. . . nearly 90% of the decline in infectious disease mortality among US children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccines were available.” And concluding: “Thus vaccination does not account for the impressive declines in mortality seen in the first half of the century.”

Note that there is not a vaccine for scarlet fever, yet its decline matches those of vaccine-targeted infections.


For decades, public health agencies have been focusing on demonstrating the reduction in vaccine-preventable disease incidencefollowing the introduction of vaccination programs, while disregarding the unintended consequencessuch programs may have had on overall infectious disease epidemiology and long-term levels of the population’s immunity.  Such unintended consequences include the phenomenon of strain replacement, the rise in clinically similar diseases caused by unrelated viruses, and the increase in disease severity due to shifting the risk of infection into more vulnerable age groups.

One example: POLIO.

OPV (live polio vaccine) and Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP): In recent decades, India has been a target for wild poliovirus eradication by means of intensive oral polio vaccination (OPV).  A report published in Pediatrics in 2015 revealed the gory outcome of these efforts: “The incidence of polio AFP in India has decreased. However, the nonpolio AFP rate has increased since 2000,” and “35.2% of [nonpolio AFP] patients were found to have residual paralysis, and 8.5% had died.” While the culprit behind nonpolio AFP, which is clinically indistinguishable from polio AFP, remains to be announced to the public, the wild poliovirus eradication campaign in India has neither reduced human suffering nor eliminated death from paralysis. The rise in the incidence of AFP negated the efforts in wild polio eradication.  Furthermore, the Polio Global Eradication Initiative (PGEI) has documented only 22 and 11 cases of wild polio worldwide in the year of 2017 and the first half of 2018, respectively, while also stating that there are more than 100,000 AFP cases detected and investigated every year around the world.

Even without factoring in vaccine injury, the problem of circulating vaccine-derived mutated strains, and the unrealistic goals of disease eradication with products incapable of the job, this is clear evidence that targeting single antigens (viruses or bacteria) without changing the environmental conditions of the population does not improve human health. Without adequate nutrition, proper sanitation, and clean water, disease proliferates.


The film said that safety became the arbiter of every decision Hilleman would make. He apparently put safety first with contaminants, such as the SV40 contamination discovery. Contrary to what the film says, research has found SV40 to be a potent DNA tumor virus shown to cause cancer in animals, still highly suspected in humans since SV40 has been found in human tumors, and ongoing science is searching for answers.

Tragically, the same attitude of safety was not applied to the intentional ingredients of the vaccines or their impact on health in the short or long term.

No vaccine currently given to children has ever been tested against an inert saline placebo, and none of the vaccines or adjuvants used as controls in the studies were tested against inert placebos. We have no basis of safety for any vaccine given to children.

The non-profit Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN)has been having ongoing dialogues with HHS, CDC, and the FDA regarding critical issues of safety and oversight that have been neglected, in violation of the 1986 ACT and other laws. They learned through a Freedom of Information Act disclosure from the FDA that the MMR vaccine was licensed based on inadequate clinical studies. According to ICAN:

  • There were eight clinical trials that in total had less than 1,000 individuals, out of which only 342 children received the MMR vaccine

  • The safety review period only tracked ‘adverse events’ for 42 days after injection

  • More than half or a significant percent of all participants in each of the eight trials developed gastrointestinal symptoms and upper respiratory infections

  • All adverse events were generically described as ‘other viruses’ and not considered in safety profile of licensure

  • The control group received other vaccines for either rubella or measles and rubella, and none of the controls received a placebo (an inert substance such as a saline injection)

Furthermore, the FDA requires vaccine manufacturers to include adverse reactions on product inserts. The regulation states: “This section [of the insert] must describe the overall adverse reaction profile of the drug based on the entire safety database. For purposes of prescription drug labeling, an adverse reaction is an undesirable effect, reasonably associated with use of a drug, that may occur as part of the pharmacological action of the drug or may be unpredictable in its occurrence. This definition does not include all adverse events observed during use of a drug, only those adverse events for which there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship between the drug and the occurrence of the adverse event.”

But the FDA does NOT require the manufacturer to do anything about reported reactions. They aren’t required to do any research to determine causality, to improve product safety, or change administration policies. Because we lack an adequate surveillance system, the frequency of events is unknown. Parents who say any of these happened following vaccine administration are generally gaslighted. The following adverse events are listed on the MMR II product insert:

MMR Adverse Reactions 
The following adverse MMR reactions are listed in decreasing order of severity, without regard to causality, within each body system category and have been reported during clinical trials, with use of the marketed vaccine, or with use of monovalent or bivalent vaccine containing measles, mumps, or rubella:

Body as a Whole
Panniculitis; atypical measles; fever; syncope; headache; dizziness; malaise; irritability.

Cardiovascular System

Digestive System
Pancreatitis; diarrhea; vomiting; parotitis; nausea.

Endocrine System
Diabetes mellitus.

Hemic and Lymphatic System
Thrombocytopenia; purpura; regional lymphadenopathy; leukocytosis.

Immune System
Anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions, and related phenomena such as angioneurotic edema (including peripheral or facial edema) and bronchial spasm in individuals with or without an allergic history.

Musculoskeletal System
Arthritis; arthralgia; myalgia.

Nervous System
Encephalitis; encephalopathy; measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE) subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE); Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS); acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM); transverse myelitis; febrile convulsions; afebrile convulsions or seizures; ataxia; polyneuritis; polyneuropathy; ocular palsies; paresthesia.

Respiratory System
Pneumonia; pneumonitis, sore throat; cough; rhinitis.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome; erythema multiforme; urticaria; rash; measles-like rash; pruritis. local reactions including burning/stinging at injection site; wheal and flare; redness (erythema); swelling; induration; tenderness; vesiculation at injection site.

Special Senses — Ear
Nerve deafness; otitis media.

Special Senses — Eye
Retinitis; optic neuritis; papillitis; retrobulbar neuritis; conjunctivitis.

Urogenital System
Epididymitis; orchitis.



In the film it is claimed that vaccine manufacturing is on the decline and that vaccines are not big money makers. They are described as magnets for liability, and that now only 4 or 5 companies make them. This is misleading, and untrue.

In the past, vaccines weren’t big money makers, and yes, manufacturers were being sued right and left, especially from injury caused by the DPT vaccine. This led to the 1986 ACT that removed financial liability from vaccine makers and those who administer them. With government tax dollars now paying for vaccine injury, responsible for safety oversight, mandating, purchasing, distributing and tax dollars even doing the majority of the marketing of vaccine products — vaccines became VERY lucrative, more vaccines were added to the schedule, more vaccines were added to the pipeline. The fact that there are only a few companies making the highest-selling vaccines speaks to the nature of the pharmaceutical industry, where big companies tend to acquire smaller ones. But make no mistake, the vaccine industry is alive and well.

The global vaccine market is estimated to reach nearly $58 billion by 2025. Hundreds of new vaccines are in the pipeline, and the inadequate regulations concerning clinical testing means most will never be tested against an inert placebo or be subject to long-term safety trials, and real-world health outcomes will not be properly tracked.

Vaccines are now highly profitable. Merck lists the MMR and Gardasil – two of their vaccines that also happen to be embroiled in fraud trials outside of “vaccine court”—in their top most profitable products. In thesecond quarter of 2019, Merck reported: “Human Health Vaccines Sales Grew 33% to $2.0 Billion.”


This film was financially supported by those with enormous financial interest in persuading the public to not question the safety or effectiveness of vaccines: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation; the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and the Merck Foundation.

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