TV show will run with vaccine disclaimer

January 29, 2008

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) wants to make it explicitly clear that a new legal drama on ABC is just that -- fiction...

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) wants to make it explicitly clear that a new legal drama on ABC is just that -- fiction.

The show, "Eli Stone," premieres on Thursday, January 31. The first episode's plot features a court case deciding if a fictional "mercuritol" additive in vaccines could cause autism in immunized children.

The additive thimerosol additive has been subject to years of claims it has been responsible for the spike in autism in recent years. Thimerosol is no longer used as a preservative in vaccines, and autism cases are still at high levels. Yet the additive and vaccines in general, are still subject to prejudice for "causing" autism, all evidence to the contrary.

"Many people trust the health information presented on fictional television shows, which influences their decisions about health care," said AAP president Renee R. Jenkins, MD, in a public letter to the president of ABC. "ABC will bear responsibility for the needless suffering and potential deaths of children from parents' decisions not to immunize based on the content of the episode."

While the episode will not be altered or edited, a disclaimer in the beginning will state that the show and everything portrayed on it are fictional, then offer up a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccines page.