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City Premiers ‘Vaccination from the Misinformation Virus’ Documentary

Documentary addresses vaccine concerns and vaccine’s critical role in public health

The City of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department and the Albuquerque Mayor's Youth Advisory Council are hosting Emmy Award winning producer and director Chris Schueler with additional sponsors Presbyterian Health Services, STChealth, and SafeTeen New Mexico to premier the “Vaccination from the Misinformation Virus” documentary this Saturday. The documentary will help parents and community leaders understand how important and safe vaccines are, how crucial they are to community health and how they save millions of lives annually.

The documentary’s national premiere, screening July 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Aperture Center through the UNM Film and Digital Arts Department, is hosted by the Albuquerque Mayor's Youth Advisory Council (MYAC). The premiere will be free and open to the public. The program will also broadcast across local news channels this summer and is available to all PBS stations nationally.

“We’re grateful to partner with Chris Schueler on this powerful documentary,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Albuquerque was one of the healthiest cities throughout the pandemic and we know that we have to continue providing information that is critical to the health of our communities. Holding real, in-depth conversations to work through people’s concerns about the vaccine is a central piece of that.”

“We started this program in 2017, after a conversation with infectious disease pediatrician, Dr. Walter Dehority and in conjunction with the Immunization Practitioners Advisory Committee so we’ve been in research over three years before we started filming,” explains producer/director Chris Schueler. “We started long before the pandemic and so we address all vaccines explaining the history and science while dispelling various myths.” 

“We are honored to partner with Chris Schueler to host the premiere of this incredible documentary,” said Mireya Macias, Vice Chair of MYAC. “It is promising to see this film educate our communities on the importance of vaccines for public health amid a large vaccine misinformation movement and hear from experts in their respective fields starting these important conversations.”

About the documentary:

As COVID-19 spread worldwide, Americans became increasingly polarized as to its reach, scope and effects. As a result, vaccinations for this and other diseases have become flash-points in communities across the country. However, former Assistant US Surgeon General, Pamela Schweitzer is encouraged, “Our hopes to slow COVID-19 and get back to some kind of ‘normal’ hinges on peoples’ understanding of and willingness to become vaccinated. And that understanding and willingness will carry over to other vaccines.” According to infectious disease pediatrician, Dr. Walter Dohority, “the pandemic has really offered us an opportunity to educate and engage citizens about all vaccines and viruses.” 

The difficulty with people understanding the importance of vaccination has to do with how successful they are.  “I don’t know anybody who’s ever had measles. I’ve never seen mumps. I’ve never seen rubella. Now my children, they don’t even know what chickenpox is,” explains the Director of Tricore Labs infectious diseases, Karissa Culbreath, PhD. “That’s the challenge of the vaccines arguments because now disease doesn’t happen and we have to remind people who’ve never seen the disease that the disease exists.”

The program includes infectious disease experts, epidemiologists, pharmacists, physicians, and various academics with expertise in misinformation as well as health disparities. “We have to understand that folks may be hesitant to get vaccinated for reasons we may not consider,” says Schueler. “Our experts explain how all kinds of issues throughout the country contribute to extremely legitimate concerns for many disenfranchised groups.”   “If you think about the healthcare system as a system that is part of a larger structure; part of an educational system, part of a law enforcement system, part of a social services system. Then we understand why there could be hesitancy. We understand why there could be a lack of trust,” explains Sabrina Cherry, PhD.

 “People sometimes think of historical trauma as the retelling of bad stories that happened a long time ago, but that’s not it. It is the trauma that occurred, that continues to occur on a daily basis.”

The program also addresses the future of vaccines which appears to be bright. “The good news is that two technologies that were in development have now been proven to be really effective,” explains John Grabenstein, RPh PhD of the Immunization Action Coalition. “Now scientists can go back into the labs and test them against viruses and bacteria where there is no vaccine right now.”

New Mexico Television Broadcasts

  • PBS KNME, Albuquerque/Santa Fe July 29 at 7:00p.m.
  • PBS KENW, Portales July 29 at 7:00p.m.
  • PBS KRWG, Las Cruces July 29 at 7:00p.m., July 31 at 5:00p.m., and August 1, at 11:00a.m.
  • FOX NM July 31 at 2:00p.m.
  • CBS KRQE July 31 at 7:00p.m.
  • KWBQ July 31 at 8:00p.m. and August 21 at 3:00p.m.
  • KASY August 1 at 3:00p.m.