Eight months before the world heard of COVID-19, another epidemic was making headlines.
In the spring of 2019, a global measles epidemic threatened the masses. Under these conditions, director Scott Hamilton Kennedy began an investigation into how this could happen. Misinformation created groups of people refusing vaccinations as parents feared for their children. And then… COVID-19. The pandemic changed the world but also brought the public mistrust in the scientific community to the surface. In his new documentary, Shot in the Arm, Kennedy explores the toxicity of disinformation and attempts to discover how cynicism can be replaced with healthy curiosity.
Directed by Kennedy and executive produced by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Shot in the Arm is a cry for truth in an age when the concept seems to have fallen by the wayside. With urgency and fervour, Kennedy uses this film as an opportunity to battle the misinformation surround vaccination health in an effort to combat those who spread misinformation. Featuring countless top health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Karen Ernst, Dr. Paul A. Offit & Blima Marcus, Kennedy allow the experts to do the talking in regards to vaccination safety and community support.
In Shot, vaccinations aren’t just a matter of personal health. They’re a matter of public safety.
Coming on the heels of the global pandemic, Shot doesn’t deal solely with COVID. Instead, Shot puts COVID into context by revealing other recent examples of outbreaks that have sprung up in recent years. Conversations surrounding a measles outbreak in New York and polio deaths highlight the need for better information about vaccinations and their safety. As such, Shot becomes a film which has an importance that extends beyond Covid and its after effects.
You see, the real Shot being taken here are the ways that factors that shape ‘our truth’.
Kennedy ensures that his film serves as a deep dive into the aspects of our culture that helped create such a disastrous event. Shot is a film that wants to grapple with the fears and misinformation that help create such a worldwide catastrophe. In order to do that, the film pulls back the curtain to a broader issue of miscommunication created by those who are leading the public astray.
By following anti-vaxxers such as Andrew Wakefield and Robert Kennedy Jr., Shot challenges the role of science in an age of feelings and perspective. At a time when anybody can reinforce their opinion with a quick Google search, Kennedy pleads for the audience to listen intently to the voices of those in the scientific community as opposed to those who intend to stir up controversy. Oftentimes, these sorts of speakers plant doubts in the mind of their followers, inciting conspiracy theories and misinformation. However, Kennedy points out the years of research in the scientific study should not easily be discounted at the hands of fear.
In the end, while essential information, Shot in the Arm’s greatest power lies beyond its plea to trust vaccines. Instead, this is ultimately a film that wants us to look for proper sources in our quest for truth. In an age when information comes easily, truth around scientific inquiry seems to be far more difficult. But Kennedy’s film reminds the audience the power in looking for answers from experts.
Because there will always be many more voices looking to take their Shot.
Shot in the Arm is available in theatres in NY and LA now.