Proponents of vaccination cite the eradication of polio—declared in the United States in 1979 and in the Western Hemisphere in 1991—as “proof” that mass vaccination campaigns are effective. They credit polio vaccines as having single-handedly reduced polio incidence and use this as justification for today’s mandatory vaccination programs, which violate the fundamental human right of bodily autonomy. What proponents of mass vaccination do not tell us is that the polio vaccine “success story” is riddled with failures and inaccuracies, both historically and today. These have largely been kept secret from the general public.
Poliomyelitis (or “polio” for short) is a contagious disease caused by an intestinal virus (called an “enterovirus”) that may attack the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Polio mainly affects children under the age of five and is spread through contact with contaminated feces (for example, by changing a baby’s diapers) or through airborne droplets in food or water.1 Poliovirus enters the body through the nose or mouth and then travels to the intestines where it incubates. Next, it enters the bloodstream where “anti-polio” antibodies are produced. In most cases, this stops the progression of the virus, and the individual gains permanent immunity.
PERCEPTION VERSUS REALITY
Many Americans can remember a time when children were prohibited from swimming in public pools, and newspapers published photographs of victims convalescing in iron lungs. However, as explained by Neil Z. Miller (author of the book Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective?2 and director of the ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute3), these images left the public with a false impression. In a 2004 paper, “The polio vaccine: a critical assessment of its arcane history, efficacy, and long-term health-related consequences,”1 Miller wrote, “Many people mistakenly believe that anyone who contracts polio will become paralyzed or die.” In fact, the majority of people who are infected with poliovirus do not become sick and are never even aware that they have had the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently states that approximately three-fourths of people infected with poliovirus will experience no symptoms whatsoever. About one out of four infected people will have flu-like symptoms, lasting two to five days, which may include sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache and stomach pain.4 About one out of two hundred people will have weakness or paralysis in their arms, legs or both; although this weakness or paralysis can last a lifetime, many individuals recover completely, and, in most, muscle function returns to some degree. Among the subset of people with paralysis, the CDC says, between two and ten out of one hundred people die “because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe.”4 Until recently (on a webpage that is no longer live),5 the CDC shared different numbers, asserting that only 5 percent of infected people would show any symptoms; other public health websites continue to cite those numbers.6
In the early and mid-twentieth century, few diseases frightened people more than polio—but it is important to remember that much of the fear came from false information about the disease. Dr. Suzanne Humphries, an internist and board-certified nephrologist, wrote about polio fear-mongering in her 2013 book, Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History, describing how we were “indoctrinated to believe polio was a highly prevalent and contagious disease” from the early 1900s on, “despite the actual numbers of paralytic polio cases being very low.”7
Helping fuel the fire, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (March of Dimes) produced advertising campaigns that led everyone to believe that polio was a rampant and violent crippler. Dr. Humphries points out that individuals were subjected to horrific treatments such as tendon cutting, surgical straightening and prolonged splinting; these rushed procedures were responsible for much of the residual paralysis, deformities and lingering stiffness that victims suffered.
SALK AND THE CUTTER INCIDENT
On March 26, 1953, American physician and microbiologist Jonas Salk announced on national radio that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Presumably, the nation cheered. Because of the tremendous fear created by the advertising campaigns, parents in Canada, Finland and the United States readily offered up their children to serve as test subjects for Salk’s clinical vaccine trial in 1954. Over six hundred and twenty thousand “polio pioneers” were injected with vaccine or placebo, and “more than a million others participated as ‘observed’ controls,” in what would become the largest public health experiment in history.8 Licensing of Salk’s polio vaccine was then fast-tracked by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The government approved the vaccine for commercial use after only two hours of deliberation, persuaded by the one-year field trial that the vaccine was both “safe and effective.”9
Unfortunately, fast-tracking the vaccine proved disastrous. In the spring of 1955, Salk’s newly approved inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), manufactured by Cutter Laboratories, was administered to over four hundred thousand people, including many schoolchildren.10 Of those, over half—two hundred and twenty thousand individuals—in five Western and mid-Western states were injected with a bad batch. Because Salk’s vaccine used a “killed” version of the polio germ, it “supposedly carried no risk of giving recipients ‘vaccine-associated polio paralysis,’”11 but within days, reports of paralysis began surfacing. Within a month, the mass vaccination program against polio had to be suspended.12 Salk’s vaccine had caused seventy thousand cases of muscle weakness, one hundred and sixty-four cases of severe paralysis and ten deaths. Three fourths (75 percent) of the victims remained paralyzed for the rest of their lives.13
This tragedy became known as the “Cutter incident.” Investigations confirmed that the formalin (or formaldehyde) used to kill the poliovirus did not do what it was supposed to do. Rather, the manufacturing process “resurrected” the poliovirus, which led to injection of live polioviruses into recipients.14 Moreover, the vaccine formulation used during the 1954 field trial had contained Merthiolate, the trade name for the thimerosal mercury compound, which, while problematic in other respects, had a virus-killing effect. However, manufacturers removed the Merthiolate from the 1955 vaccine to induce a faster antibody response in vaccine recipients, causing the vaccine to retain live viruses of a highly neurovirulent nature.7
As a result of the Cutter incident, more people developed paralysis from the 1955 vaccine than would have developed it from a wild, natural poliovirus. Moreover, children given the Cutter Laboratories vaccines were more likely to experience paralysis in their arms, suffer severe and permanent paralysis, require breathing assistance in iron lungs and die than children naturally infected with poliovirus.11
Cutter Laboratories ceased manufacturing Salk’s polio vaccine after the incident, but the American government reinitiated its vaccination program only twenty-one days after the suspension, allowing other laboratories to continue supplying the eager public with Salk’s original vaccine. Wyeth Laboratories subsequently produced another defective, crippling Salk vaccine.15 Today, it is anyone’s guess as to how many people contracted polio due to Salk’s original vaccine. Theoretically, tens of millions of doses of improperly inactivated Salk vaccines may have been sold and injected into children in the U.S. and in nearly one hundred other countries before that vaccine formulation was discontinued.
POST-VACCINE INCREASE IN POLIO
Between 1923 and 1953 (before the Salk vaccine’s introduction), the polio death rate in the U.S. had declined on its own by 47 percent; England had observed a similar pattern, with a 55 percent decline.1 Following the use of Salk’s vaccine between 1955 and 1963, however, cases of polio in the U.S. increased—by 50 percent from 1957 to 1958 and by 80 percent between 1958 and 1959.16
Notwithstanding the large increase in polio cases in the U.S. starting in 1955, government sleight-of-hand made the vaccine appear successful. In 1955, officials redefined “paralytic poliomyelitis” and made the diagnosis much more stringent. Prior to the vaccine’s introduction, a patient only had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for twenty-four hours, and a diagnosis required no laboratory confirmation or tests to determine residual paralysis. Post-vaccine, the revised definition expanded the time period for symptoms of paralysis to a minimum of sixty days and required confirmation of residual paralysis at least twice during the course of the disease. Because paralytic poliomyelitis is rarely permanent and often lasts for only a short period of time, patients with a short paralytic duration were no longer counted as having polio.7
Another factor that served to lower the apparent incidence of polio after the vaccine’s introduction was the fact that distinct diseases that had previously been grouped together under the umbrella of “polio” began to be reported as separate diseases. One of these was aseptic meningitis, an infectious disease that is often difficult to distinguish from poliovirus or other enteroviruses such as Coxsackie virus. According to Dr. Humphries, numerous other conditions were often naively mislabeled as “paralytic poliomyelitis” in the pre-vaccine but not the post-vaccine era. Transverse myelitis—a rare form of spinal cord inflammation that affects infants as young as five months old—provides one example. Approximately fourteen hundred new cases of transverse myelitis are reported every year in the U.S., leaving some of those affected permanently paralyzed and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Pre-polio vaccination, all of these cases would have been called “polio.”7
Also considered “polio” before but not after the onset of mass vaccination were undiagnosed congenital syphilis; arsenic and DDT toxicity; Guillain-Barré syndrome; provocation of limb paralysis by intramuscular injections (including vaccination) (see “Injection-Induced Polio” below); hand, foot and mouth disease; and lead poisoning.7 West Nile virus also has symptoms that are clinically identical to polio, to the extent that it is referred to in medical journals as “West Nile poliomyelitis.” As Dr. Humphries astutely concludes, “Simply by changing the diagnostic criteria, the number of paralytic cases was predetermined to decrease in 1955-1957, whether or not any vaccine was used.”7
IPV AND OPV
In 1963, the U.S. replaced Salk’s IPV vaccine with an attenuated (weakened, not killed) oral polio vaccine (OPV) developed by American physician and microbiologist, Albert Sabin. As a live virus vaccine, it, too, was (and continues to be) capable of giving its recipients polio. Not only can OPV trigger vaccine-strain polio in recipients, it can also cause polio in those who come in contact with recently vaccinated individuals due to shedding of live vaccine-strain poliovirus in bodily fluids.12 In validation of this very theory, Dr. Salk testified before a Senate subcommittee in 1977 that the oral polio vaccine had caused most of the polio cases in the U.S. since the early 1960s.17
Today, the U.S. has reverted to using an updated version of Salk’s “killed” IPV vaccine. Meanwhile, Sabin’s live OPV vaccine continues to be widely used in other parts of the world, and particularly in lower-income countries, as it is less expensive to produce.
Two additional factors contributed to the complexity of the mid-century polio situation. The first and most indisputable factor is that, as Miller documents on the ThinkTwice website, intramuscular injection of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals started prompting “polio” cases to skyrocket, particularly after introduction of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines in the 1940s.18
By the early 1950s, articles began appearing in journals such as The Lancet19 and The British Medical Journal20 that (however cautiously) admitted the role of injections. For example, a 1950 investigation to determine whether “cases of paralysis diagnosed as and indistinguishable from poliomyelitis were occurring in association with inoculation procedures” concluded that “there may have been present in the poliomyelitis group cases which would not have been clinically diagnosed as poliomyelitis at all if their inoculation had not brought them into the paralytic group”20 [emphasis added]. More recent studies have reached much the same conclusion. A 1992 study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases (published by CDC authors, no less) showed that children who received DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) injections were significantly more likely than matched control children to suffer paralytic poliomyelitis within the next thirty days.21
In 1995, CDC researchers published another study focusing on “vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis” in The New England Journal of Medicine.22 The Romania-based study showed that children who received a single injection within a month of receiving the polio vaccine were eight times more likely to contract polio than children who had received no further injections. The risk jumped twenty-seven-fold when children received up to nine injections within one month of polio vaccination, and, with ten or more injections, the likelihood of developing polio was one hundred and eighty-two times greater than expected. In the Romanian setting, 95 percent of the post-polio-vaccine injections were of antibiotics, while 4 percent of the injections were DTP vaccine.22
Diagnoses of what was thought to be “polio” also followed the 1939 discovery and introduction of the insecticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), which earned Swiss scientist Dr. Paul Muller the Nobel Prize in 1948. Because DDT was presented as a solution to rid the public of insects falsely suspected of carrying a germ that spread polio, few initially realized that it actually was poisoning both children and adults. For years, Americans hummed along to the catchy advertising jingle “DDT is good for me-e-e!” while children played behind trucks spraying plumes of DDT, not knowing the harm it caused. DDT was sprayed on beaches and playgrounds and was used in water to rinse out clothes, bedding and mattresses. Fearful parents went so far as to sprinkle it on sandwiches.7
Most doctors of the time were unaware that DDT poisoning mimics the paralytic symptoms of polio. In 1953, however, a Westport, Connecticut physician, Morton S. Biskind, “had the composure to argue what he thought was the most obvious explanation for the polio epidemic: central nervous system diseases… such as polio are actually the physiological and symptomatic manifestations of the ongoing government- and industry-sponsored inundation of the world’s populace with central nervous system poisons.”23
Arsenicals—compounds containing arsenic—are some of the oldest known causes of poliomyelitis.7 Arsenic was considered to be “safe and effective” in the era prior to polio vaccine use, so much so that doctors prescribed arsenic in cases of lung problems such as asthma.
VIRAL AND OTHER CONTAMINANTS
Miller describes how, in 1959, Bernice Eddy—a government scientist working in biologics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—discovered that polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer.1 When Eddy attempted to report her findings and halt production of the contaminated polio vaccines, her government superiors barred her from publicly revealing the problem. Instead, they took away her lab and equipment, and she was demoted.
It was not until the following year, 1960, that two Merck scientists—Dr. Maurice Hilleman and Dr. Benjamin Sweet—published findings concluding that all three types of Sabin’s live oral polio vaccine were contaminated with a “hitherto undetectable” monkey virus that they named simian virus 40 (SV40).24 The contamination was the direct result of using rhesus monkey kidney cells to make the vaccines.25 Further research proved that SV40 was also present in Salk’s injectable IPV vaccine when the microbes survived the formaldehyde “killing” process.
In 1996, Michele Carbone, a molecular pathologist at Loyola University Medical Center, was able to detect SV40 in 38 percent of patients with bone cancer and in 58 percent of those with mesothelioma, a deadly type of lung cancer.1 By April 2001, sixty-two papers from thirty laboratories around the world had reported SV40 in human tissues and tumors, including pituitary and thyroid cancers.1 Dr. Hilleman later admitted—on tape—that Merck knew that the vaccines were contaminated but continued to dispense them to the public anyway.26
The polio vaccines used today supposedly do not contain SV40, yet one must consider the fact that it took the CDC fifty years to be forthright and admit that their recommended polio vaccines had been tainted.27 Until recently, the agency’s admission that as many as thirty million Americans could be at risk for developing cancer due to SV40-contaminated polio vaccines could be found on the CDC website; the CDC later removed this information, but it can still be found in archived format.28
After the 1960 disclosure that the polio vaccines were contaminated with SV40, it took another three years for the NIH Division of Biologics Standards to recall the vaccines. During this time, over one million more Americans were vaccinated with the potentially contaminated, cancer-causing polio vaccines. When the government put new regulations in place in 1963, which were meant to protect the public from SV40, regulators required only that manufacturers wait fourteen days to determine whether SV40 was growing before proceeding to make the vaccine. It was later discovered, however, that a slower-growing form of the simian virus, which took nineteen days to appear, could well have been in the approved vaccines that went out the door to the public. Due to these inadequate testing guidelines, millions more people may have received contaminated vaccines all the way through the 1990s. Some estimate that the number of Americans at risk may be as high as one hundred million,27 and perhaps another one hundred million people elsewhere in the world may also have been put at risk. Could this be one of the reasons that one in three baby boomers experience cancer, up from one in eight thousand only a few decades ago?27
Given that monkey kidneys are still used in the manufacturing of today’s polio vaccines, what about current safety? Do polio vaccines still have the potential to cause cancer or other harmful effects? Miller quotes Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Desrosier, who bluntly stated to CNN in 1996 that “The danger in using monkey tissue to produce human vaccines is that some viruses produced by monkeys may be transferred to humans in the vaccine, with very bad health consequences.”29 Desrosier warned that testing can only be done for known viruses and that our knowledge is limited to about 2 percent of existing monkey viruses.29
According to Miller, SV40 was actually “just one of numerous simian viruses known to have contaminated polio vaccines” [emphasis in original].1 His research has shone a light not only on SV40 but also on the AIDS epidemic and its possible origination. Miller has written that by the mid-1980s, with the advent of more sophisticated testing procedures:
Researchers discovered that about 50 percent of all African green monkeys—the primate of choice for making polio vaccines—were infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a virus closely related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the infectious agent thought to precede AIDS. This caused some researchers to wonder whether HIVs may simply be SIVs ‘residing in and adapting to a human host.’ It caused others to suspect that SIV may have mutated into HIV once it was introduced into the human population by way of contaminated polio vaccines.1
In short, potentially millions of people were infected with monkey viruses capable of causing AIDs, and this cross-species transfer most likely occurred by way of SIV-contaminated polio vaccines.1
Also troubling to Miller is the fact that polio vaccines are sometimes grown in calf serum. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)—“mad cow disease”—is a transmissible, degenerative and fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. Miller states, “There is very strong evidence that mad cow disease and the newly discovered variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are caused by the same infectious agent.” Miller references 1997 and 1999 studies that “appear to confirm that BSE from cattle causes vCreutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Researchers think that mad cow disease can be passed from cows to humans if they ingest BSE-infected beef, or if they receive vaccines contaminated with BSE” [emphasis in original].1
Considering all of the well-documented problems associated with polio vaccines past and present, one might rightfully question the validity of continuing one of the most expensive public health campaigns in history. Children in the U.S. who are vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommended schedule receive four doses of polio vaccine in their first five to six years: at two and four months, six through eighteen months and four through six years of age. In India, which requires administration of two annual “pulse polio” doses of OPV to children ages zero to five in addition to the other doses on the childhood vaccine schedule, young children commonly receive fifteen doses of polio vaccine.30 Dr. Humphries quotes a Times of India article in which “one family claimed that their five year old child had received pulse polio vaccination 32 times.”31
The million-dollar question is, should we continue administering polio vaccines to the world’s population? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the answer is yes. Stating that polio still exists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, the WHO claims that polio eradication initiatives must continue worldwide not only to eliminate the disease but prevent a comeback. The global health agency states, “As long as a single child remains infected with poliovirus, children in all countries are at risk of contracting the disease.”32
What the WHO does not make public is the fact that polio vaccines contain many dangerous ingredients. In addition to the already mentioned monkey kidney cells and baby cow blood serum, polio vaccines contain human albumin (blood proteins), glutamate (a component of MSG), formaldehyde, 2-phenoxyethanol (a preservative and germicide) and various antibiotics.33 Nor does the WHO mention the adverse reactions to polio vaccines described in manufacturer package inserts and published literature, which include (but are not limited to) injection site reactions, blood and lymphatic system disorders, immune system disorders, musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders, nervous system disorders, skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders and death.34,35
The U.S. MedAlerts search engine (as of August 31, 2018) indicates that, for the oral polio vaccine, there have been almost twenty-five thousand adverse events reported following OPV vaccination, including over a thousand deaths (see Table 1).36 As of the same date, nearly forty-one thousand adverse events associated with the inactivated polio vaccine have been reported, including over eight hundred deaths.37 Approximately 90 percent of the deaths caused by both types of polio vaccine occurred in children age six and under. As if these numbers were not troubling enough on their own, the U.S. government estimates that less than 1 percent of all vaccine reactions are ever reported.38
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Despite what the WHO says (and does not say), honest appraisals of public health history have concluded that what prevents disease most efficiently is proper sanitation and nutrient-dense traditional diets—not mass vaccination campaigns. For example, Miller describes the work of Dr. Benjamin Sandler, a nutrition expert at a North Carolina Veterans’ Hospital, who “documented a relationship between polio and excessive use of sugars and starches” at the height of the U.S. polio epidemic in 1948.1 Sandler’s research showed that these foods dehydrated the cells and pulled calcium from the body and—connecting the dots—he also showed that serious calcium deficiencies often preceded polio.
In the summer of 1949, Dr. Sandler put his theory to the test by advising North Carolina residents to follow his “anti-polio diet;” when the state’s residents took his advice to heart and cut sugar consumption by 90 percent, reported polio cases dropped by a comparable percentage, falling to two hundred and twenty-nine cases in 1949 as compared to almost twenty-five hundred the previous year.1 Another doctor practicing in the 1940s and 1950s, Dr. Fred Klenner, “cured every one of the sixty polio patients he treated, some of them paralyzed, using massive injections of vitamin C.”39
In March 2014, the WHO declared India to be polio-free due to vaccination. Once again, however, the global health agency failed to tell the public the whole truth, omitting the fact that they established the same diagnostic criteria in India and other “polio-free” nations as the U.S. used starting in 1955 to create the impression of vaccine success. As Dr. Humphries has famously said, “It is a game of smoke and mirrors.”
NEW (OR OLD) FORMS OF PARALYSIS
The WHO has also made little mention of the skyrocketing incidence in countries like India of a condition called acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). In India, the timing and incidence of “non-polio” AFP have corresponded very closely to the country’s largely experimental policy of administering “pulse” doses of OPV to children ages zero to five.
Indian researchers described this strong correlation in a 2018 publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and calculated that, countrywide from 2000-2017, there were “an additional 491,000 paralyzed children” in excess of “the expected numbers.”40 Dr. Humphries suggests that—far from being able to credit vaccination campaigns with eliminating childhood paralysis—“ there is strong evidence pointing to the likelihood that experimental polio vaccination is related to the sharp rise in AFP.”7
The problem of sudden inexplicable paralysis also remains salient in the U.S., where a condition called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) caused nearly two hundred cases of paralysis in 2018.41 This “polio-like” illness, a serious condition of the spinal cord, includes symptoms such as dizziness, an inability to walk properly, difficulty swallowing and arm mobility issues.42 Other symptoms include fever, respiratory issues such as coughing, runny nose, congestion and gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea.43
Although the CDC began recording cases of AFM in 2014, the cause of the polio-like disorder is still unknown. The various explanations that have been put forth include environmental toxins or infection with non-polio enteroviruses.44 And, while no one knows for sure, some speculate that polio vaccines or other vaccines are causing AFM as well as non-polio AFP,45 with the injected aluminum adjuvants in vaccines possibly playing a role as well.44
Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has stated that AFM “seems to be more of an autoimmune syndrome, as opposed to a direct result of a virus.”46 Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barré syndrome are known adverse reactions to vaccines, as evidenced by contraindication warnings on many vaccine package inserts, including polio vaccines. As the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) concludes:
Based on Messonnier’s view that AFM might be an autoimmune disorder similar to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and based on the fact that Guillain-Barré Syndrome can reportedly be triggered by a number of vaccines, it would be reasonable to at least consider the possibility of an association between AFM and vaccination. This is particularly relevant given that 99 percent of confirmed AFM cases were diagnosed in individuals who had shown clinical symptoms that could have been caused by vaccination.43
Miller points to another relatively recent concern having to do with the new and more deadly strains of poliovirus that have emerged as a result of over-vaccination.1 Researchers first documented that a “vaccine-derived” poliovirus had caused outbreaks of polio in Egypt in the early 1980s.47 In 2000, the CDC identified vaccine-derived polio strains in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.47 Also in 2000, researchers found a new infectious and virulent poliovirus in Japan’s rivers and sewage; as described by Miller, genetic sequencing confirmed that the virus had mutated from the strain in the polio vaccine.1 In 2010, scientists confirmed that a mutant poliovirus caused an outbreak in the Republic of Congo, which resulted in four hundred and forty-five confirmed cases of polio, nearly half (47 percent) of which were fatal.48
CONSIDERING THE EVIDENCE
To come to terms with the truth about vaccination, we must first be willing to let go of our indoctrinated beliefs. We must have an open mind, and we must objectively examine the facts. I invite you to “think twice” before accepting the dogma that portrays polio vaccines as nothing short of a medical miracle. There is simply too much scientific evidence proving the contrary about polio vaccines—and every other vaccine. Every vaccine dose contains multiple toxic ingredients, and all vaccines are capable of causing serious adverse reactions, including death. Furthermore, it is not possible to achieve permanent immunity to any infectious disease through vaccination.
I also invite you to take action against states that mandate vaccines. To learn more about your state’s vaccine laws, visit the NVIC’s Advocacy Portal at nvicadvocacy.org. Only by getting involved will we become free to make the choices that are best for our loved ones and ourselves. After all, shouldn’t we be permitted to choose how we maintain strong and well-functioning immune systems as our first line of defense?
VACCINE LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
BY KENDALL NELSON
Thank you for standing with us in the fight to protect the basic human right to exercise full, informed consent to vaccination. With your help and with the tireless work of important partner organizations like the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), we have defeated dozens of bad vaccine bills during the 2019 legislative session, while also lending support to several good vaccine bills. Not all the news is good, though.
Because vaccination is mostly addressed by state law, each bill must be supported or fought against in individual states. To aid in this, the Weston A. Price Foundation regularly sends action alerts encouraging folks to get involved with state vaccine laws and policies. It is your advocacy that can educate legislators and protect informed consent rights.
That work is getting more difficult. Last year, thirty-six states considered one hundred forty-three vaccine-related bills. Forty-seven bills were actually worthy of supporting, promoting greater informed consent and choice in vaccination. Out of the eighty-two bad vaccine bills proposed, only seventeen bills passed. And only four of the bills that passed were significant problems: New York A. 9507, which authorizes pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children two years and older and to track both vaccinations and refusals; Louisiana H.B. 176 and Maine L.D. 1664, which mandate the meningitis vaccine; and Alabama H.B. 76, which requires religiously-affiliated private daycares and preschools to give the Department of Human Services vaccine records on request.
Most importantly, in 2018 no state lost or restricted existing vaccine exemptions for school, daycare or other statewide requirements.
The year 2019, however, has proven more challenging. As in 2018, the majority of the bills introduced have sought to eliminate vaccine exemptions, while adding more mandated vaccines—including bills that allow minors to receive vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases without parental consent. And the numbers and scope are increasing. So far this year, we have analyzed and tracked one hundred eighty-seven vaccine-related bills in thirty-seven states, a 30 percent increase.
The leading excuse for pushing vaccine mandates was a measles outbreak, which sickened over one thousand children between January 1 and June 13, with no reported deaths. Consider that there have been more than eighty-nine thousand adverse reactions and four hundred forty-five deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System [VAERS] related to the measles, mumps, rubella [MMR] vaccine—and it is estimated by the government that only 1 percent of all reactions are ever reported.
But the outbreak helped the vaccine industry lobbyists find politicians willing to push an agenda that benefits pharmaceutical manufacturers (in some cases, helped along by campaign contributions). Some politicians went so far as to use their political power to push for censorship in the media; for example, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Amazon asking them to censor information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children.
The decision whether or not to undergo a medical procedure is a fundamental personal freedom, and your ability to say no—for yourself or your children—should not be decided by the government. Yet this year multiple politicians have sought to penalize parents who say no to vaccines for any reason.
The high-profile attacks began when Ed Day, the county executive of Rockland County, New York, declared a state of emergency in March. He issued an order that minors under the age of eighteen who were not vaccinated with MMR vaccines were not allowed in public spaces for thirty days. That not only meant that the children could not go to school, but that they could not go with their parents to a grocery store, a park or almost anywhere else. Then, in April, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered that anyone who resided or worked within certain zip codes of Brooklyn who had not received the MMR vaccine (or who could not demonstrate serological immunity) must receive the vaccine within forty-eight hours or face a fine of up to one thousand dollars.
These two emergency orders were followed by Assembly Bill 2371, which repealed the right to religious exemption from vaccination in New York. The New York legislature rapidly pushed the bill through and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it on June 13, calling the situation “a public health emergency.” As a result, about twenty-four thousand children in New York who currently attend school with a religious exemption to vaccination will have to get all state-mandated vaccines according to the schedule published by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or be homeschooled next year. New York has now joined California, Maine, West Virginia and Mississippi in forcing parents to choose between violating their religious beliefs and educating their children.
On the other coast, the state of Washington passed House Bill 1638, which eliminated the personal belief exemption to the MMR vaccine.
Nevertheless, we have seen many victories this year. The activism efforts of thousands of citizens defeated:
AL HB 592: Would have eliminated the religious exemption to vaccination.
AZ HB 2162: Would have eliminated the personal belief exemption to vaccination, leaving only medical exemptions.
CT HB 7005: Would have allowed school nurses to refuse to acknowledge a vaccine exemption.
CT HB 7199: Would have mandateed HPV and menincoccal vaccines for 9th and 12th grade students.
CT SB 858: Would have allowed for administration of HPV and HepB vaccines to minors without parental consent.
FL HB 245/SB 356: Would have mandated HPV vaccine.
IL SB 1659: Would have mandated HPV vaccine for 6th grade students.
MN SF 1520: Would have eliminated conscientious belief exemption to vaccination.
MO HB 1075: Would have allowed minors to consent to vaccinations.
MO HB 1225 Would have eliminated the religious belief exemption to vaccination.
1. Miller NZ. The polio vaccine: a critical assessment of its arcane history, efficacy, and long-term health-related consequences. Medical Veritas 2004;1:239-51.
2. Miller NZ. Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective? Santa Fe: New Atlantean Press; 2015.
5. www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpdvac/polio/in-shortboth.htm. [No longer available.]
7. Humphries S, Bystrianyk R. The “disappearance” of polio. In Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History; 2013, pp 222-92.
8. Meldrum M. “A calculated risk”: the Salk polio vaccine trials of 1954. BMJ 1998;317:1233-6.
9. Carter R. Breakthrough: The Saga of Jonas Salk. New York: Trident Press; 1955, p. 282.
10. Nathanson N, Langmuir AD. The Cutter incident: poliomyelitis following formaldehyde-inactivated poliovirus vaccination in the United States during the spring of 1955. Am J Hyg 1963;78:16-28.
11. Cáceres M. The Salk polio vaccine “tragedy.” The Vaccine Reaction, Jan. 11, 2016.
12. Fitzpatrick M. The Cutter incident: how America’s first polio vaccine led to a growing vaccine crisis [review]. J R Soc Med 2006;99(3):156.
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2019