“In 1976, Dr. Jonas Salk, the developer of the killed-virus vaccine testified that the live virus vaccine was “the principal if not the sole” cause of polio in the U.S. since 1961”
– Washington Post
Doctors and scientists on the staff of the National Institutes of Health during the 1950s were well aware that the Salk vaccine was causing polio. Some frankly stated that it was “worthless as a preventive and dangerous to take [26:142].” They refused to vaccinate their own children [26:142]. Health departments banned the inoculations [26:140]. The Idaho State Health Director angrily declared: “I hold the Salk vaccine and its manufacturers responsible” for a polio outbreak that killed several Idahoans and hospitalized dozens more [26:140]. Even Salk himself was quoted as saying: “When you inoculate children with a polio vaccine you don’t sleep well for two or three weeks [26:144;43].” But the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, and drug companies with large investments in the vaccine coerced the U.S. Public Health Service into falsely proclaiming the vaccine was safe and effective [26:142-5].
In 1976, Dr. Jonas Salk, creator of the killed-virus vaccine used in the 1950s, testified that the live-virus vaccine (used almost exclusively in the U.S. from the early 1960s to 2000) was the “principal if not sole cause” of all reported polio cases in the U.S. since 1961 . (The virus remains in the throat for one to two weeks and in the feces for up to two months. Thus, vaccine recipients are at risk, and can potentially spread the disease, as long as fecal excretion of the virus continues .) In 1992, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an admission that the live-virus vaccine had become the dominant cause of polio in the United States . In fact, according to CDC figures, every case of polio in the U.S. since 1979 was caused by the oral polio vaccine . Authorities claim the vaccine was responsible for about eight cases of polio every year . However, an independent study that analyzed the government’s own vaccine database during a recent period of less than five years uncovered 13,641 reports of adverse events following use of the oral polio vaccine. These reports included 6,364 emergency room visits and 540 deaths (Figure 3) [47,48]. Public outrage at these tragedies became the impetus for removing the oral polio vaccine from immunization schedules [36:568;37;38].
Polio is virtually nonexistent in the United States today. However, according to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medical investigator and pediatrician, there is no credible scientific evidence that the vaccine caused polio to disappear . From 1923 to 1953, before the Salk killed-virus vaccine was introduced, the polio death rate in the United States and England had already declined on its own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively (Figure 4) . Statistics show a similar decline in other European countries as well . And when the vaccine did become available, many European countries questioned its effectiveness and refused to systematically inoculate their citizens. Yet, polio epidemics also ended in these countries .
The standards for defining polio were changed when the polio vaccine was introduced. The new definition of a polio epidemic required more cases to be reported. Paralytic polio was redefined as well, making it more difficult to confirm, and therefore tally, cases. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine the patient only had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and tests to determine residual paralysis were not required. The new definition required the patient to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days, and residual paralysis had to be confirmed twice during the course of the disease. Also, after the vaccine was introduced cases of aseptic meningitis (an infectious disease often difficult to distinguish from polio) and coxsackie virus infections were more often reported as separate diseases from polio. But such cases were counted as polio before the vaccine was introduced. The vaccine’s reported effectiveness was therefore skewed (Table 1 and Figure 5) [52,53].
The fact that dubious tactics were used to fabricate efficacy rates was corroborated by Dr. Bernard Greenberg, chairman of the Committee on Evaluation and Standards of the American Public Health Association during the 1950s. His expert testimony was used as evidence during Congressional hearings in 1962. He credited the “decline” of polio cases not to the vaccine, but rather to a change in the way doctors were required to report cases: “Prior to 1954 any physician who reported paralytic poliomyelitis was doing his patient a service by way of subsidizing the cost of hospitalization… two examinations at least 24 hours apart was all that was required… In 1955 the criteria were changed… residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days after onset of illness and again 50 to 70 days after onset… This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease… Furthermore, diagnostic procedures have continued to be refined. Coxsackie virus infections and aseptic meningitis have been distinguished from poliomyelitis… Thus, simply by changes in diagnostic criteria, the number of paralytic cases was predetermined to decrease… [52:96,97]”