Airdate: Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines

2013-05-20_1213Issues of immunisation are in the news at the moment, a timely talking point for SBS documentary Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines.

This doco has been two and a half years in the making, and says it delves deeper than the usual ‘for / against’ arguments, with real life stories of families whose lives have been irrevocably impacted by immunisation.

To coincide with the broadcast, SBS commissioned the first ever national survey on Australian attitudes to vaccination. It found half of Australians opposing immunisation get their information from online, while those in favour of vaccination consult their GP.

According to the survey 92% of Australian parents allow their children to be fully vaccinated, whilst 53% express a range of concerns. Younger people appear to be less confident than their parents and grandparents in making their vaccination decisions. Younger people are often relying more heavily on internet research, which is proving to be a powerful tool in the immunisation landscape.

The survey also states that, across the sample, 11% reported that they or someone they knew claim to have experienced a vaccine reaction. Nevertheless overall support of vaccination is high with Australia having one of the highest rates in the world.

Commenting on the survey findings Professor Mark Kendall Group Leader, Delivery of Drugs and Genes Group (D2G2), Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) said “This national survey of Australian public attitudes to vaccination yields fresh insights into the attitude of public – the parents, the children, the young and the elderly towards vaccines. It drives home an important point: the decisions we make on vaccines, for example whether to get vaccinated or not, hinges upon the information we gather on vaccines and the source of this information.

It is clear that we the researchers and developers of vaccines need to step up here. We need to work harder in getting the complete information picture of vaccines on the basis of scientific rigour to the public. With the young now sourcing so much information from the internet, we need to package this information based upon science in ways online that are more accessible to them.”

Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines presents a game-changing look at the controversial subject of vaccination. The special feature length documentary by Emmy award winning science director, Sonya Pemberton, delves into this divisive debate like never before, questioning whether vaccines are to blame when things go wrong or if there are other factors at play. Acknowledging and addressing the fears fuelling a growing trend of vaccine hesitancy around the world, Jabbed investigates the real cost of opting out.

In Australia, vaccination is currently widely accepted – more than 90 per cent of people support it and only two per cent oppose – but with stories about the potential risks of vaccine side effects receiving coverage and sparking heated debate, more parents are questioning whether vaccination is the best way to protect their loved ones. More than 50 per cent of Australian parents have concerns around vaccines and, while many vaccinate their children despite these concerns, eight per cent of parents delay or avoid vaccinating their children*.

Jabbed explores the reasons for complacency, closely examines concerns, and highlights the impact of delaying or refusing immunisation. Travelling the globe, tracking current epidemics of preventable diseases that many people thought had been wiped off the face of the earth, Jabbed looks at heartbreaking cases, reveals the latest science behind these life and death tales, and places them in a statistical and historical context.

SBS ONE, Sunday 26 May at 8.30pm.


  1. Looking forward to this. SBS One also aired another excellent program a couple of years ago called, Vaccine Wars, from the good people at PBS Frontline. That’s worth a look if anyone can track it down.

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