San Diego, California - The subject of the documentary was not new to the nearly 100 people who watched it. Healthcare professionals and their families know vaccines prevent disease and save lives.

They are also aware that, although vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, some parents choose to delay or decline vaccinations for their children.

The group of healthcare leaders and interested community members who gathered at the County Health Services Complex on Rosecrans to watch the film “Invisible Threat” wanted to learn how this film created by 16 Carlsbad High School students could help them spread the word about the importance of vaccines to young people—and their parents.

The 40-minute documentary takes on the sometimes controversial issue of vaccines.  The student filmmakers interviewed local and national vaccine and autism experts who talked about the benefits of vaccinations and the risks of not vaccinating, and a naturopath, who was opposed to using vaccines. The film also featured two moms who chose not to vaccinate their children, as well as a mom whose baby died from pertussis and another whose college-age son died from meningococcal disease. 

“The documentary is excellent. It’s very well-researched and engages your attention right away,” said Mary Cruz, from Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “It’s an extraordinary tool to be able to spread the word about the benefit of vaccines.”

Dr. Eric McDonald, County deputy public health officer, watched the documentary and agreed.

“They did an excellent job of making the message real for a young audience,” he said. “Besides the flu, most people have no connection to someone who’s been sick or has died from a vaccine preventable disease.”

If you have not heard about “Invisible Threat” yet, chances are you’ll hear about it soon.  It was shown last month in Washington D.C. to some members of Congress and has earned praise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and dozens of other local and national health organizations.

According to Lisa Posard, producer and mother of Camille, who wrote the film script, about 70 colleges and universities, including Stanford, Yale, and UC Berkeley, are screening the film or using it to educate students. “Invisible Threat” will eventually be released online after airing on a major broadcasting service.

The movie presents a powerful message about the dangers unvaccinated children and people could pose to those around them. As an example, “Invisible Threat” describes the measles outbreak in San Diego in 2008, when an unvaccinated child who travelled to Switzerland returned to San Diego with the disease and infected 11 other children.