Sunday, May 22, 2011

Polio vaccine and unintended consequences

Dear Friends,

Below is some more information from my files on the polio vaccine. Over the course of the last year, I have pretty much shared with you what I consider the most important information from my files. I hope this is of help to you.

Vaccination has always been a controversial issue and will continue to be. Just look at the news recently on the flu vaccine and especially on Dr. Wakefield and the MMR vaccine.

High on a recent survey was public concern for vaccine safety. Although the following installment has to do with the “unintended consequences” of the polio vaccine, there are current reports of adverse effects of the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine pushed over the last 3 years for girls and women, and now males. What we always need to remember is that there are ALWAYS consequences to all vaccines.

As a child growing up in the 1950’s, I remember the fear generated by stories of polio and the pictures and TV coverage of children and adults in the iron lung—helpless and boxed in. It is easy to understand why parents allowed their children to get polio shots. After all, there was so much good the shots would do.

However, as with so many things, the solution—-a vaccine—-created problems which the scientists and government kept from the public.

If parents of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s knew that the polio vaccine would cause polio, some cancers (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung, brain, and bone) and possibly AIDS, would they have vaccinated their children? Would they have been so compliant with having their children line up for shots or sugar cubes?

Why are the parents of 2011 willing to still bring their children to doctors and clinics for shots?

Below are some stories about the consequences of the polio vaccines.

April 13, 1991 Vol. 17-15 of the Canada Diseases Weekly Report discussed requests to use OPV for unlicensed uses by provincial programs:
“The use of live oral polio vaccine (OPV) or any other live vaccine for treatment of warts or recurrent herpes simplex infections is totally inappropriate. There is no theoretical justification for such therapy and the only controlled trial showed no benefit in treating recurrent herpes with OPV. There is a potential for serious side effects particularly if recipients or their contacts have unrecognized immunodeficiency.”

In the November 29, 1991 issue of Science there was a brief article “Polio Vaccine Ruling”:
“A U.S. District Court judge has ruled the government liable for injuries caused over several decades by oral polio vaccine, asserting that the federal Division of Biologics Standards (DBS)—-now known as the Office of Biologics Research and Review—-violated its own regulatory standards… This case is only the latest in almost two decades of court battles over Albert Sabin’s vaccine.”

Maryland judge J. Frederick Motz wrote “…DBS officials arrogated to themselves the power to define what constituted an acceptable risk, thereby undermining the rule of law and threatening long-term public confidence in the regulatory system itself. The government cannot simply now rewrite history to retell events as it wishes they had unfolded.”

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Marc Moller, stated “…the government’s willingness to play footloose with the law whenever it was comfortable to do so would not have been exposed but for our piece of litigation.”

The April 13-19, 1992 issue of The Washington Post National Weekly Edition had an article by Tom Curtis “Did a Polio Vaccine Experiment Unleash AIDS in Africa?” with the subtitle “The virus probably passed from monkeys to humans”:
Mr. Curtis believed that AIDS could be traced to an early polio vaccine program, namely, that in Africa, using the polio vaccine devised by Hilary Koprowski of Philadelphia’s Wistar Institute. Koprowski was “… the first to administer live, weakened polio virus to human beings, initially in 1950… Starting in 1957, Koprowski’s Congo vaccines were the first ones administered to a large human population, sprayed into the mouths of hundreds of thousands of Africans. There was virtually no follow-up, which Koprowski blames on the Congo’s subsequent independence and civil war.”

“After SV40 was discovered, vaccine makers switched from Indian rhesus monkeys to African green monkeys. But in the early 1980’s, researchers discovered that many such monkeys were infected with a retrovirus related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the one that caused AIDS in humans. This retrovirus cousin of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus(SIV),could have been present in any vaccine made from the tissues of these monkeys before 1985, the year when sophisticated testing was instituted.”

“Although they switched monkey species, scientists continued to put unknown monkey viruses into the human population.”

“New Polio Shot May Be Safer” was a brief in The New York Times of August 11, 1993:
“A new, beefed-up version of the old polio vaccine, based on killed virus, may provide better protection against this disease and, at the same time, prevent the rare cases of paralytic polio that occur among the recipients of the currently used Sabin vaccine… The new vaccine, based on an inactivated polio virus but with enhanced potency, is approved for general use and is often used to prevent polio in people with immune disorders.”

“Scientists Adapt Inactivated Polio Virus to Create ‘Vaccine Cocktail’” was the page one headline of Sept. 2, 1994, of the Watertown (NY) Daily Times:
“An inactivated polio virus could be turned into a ‘vaccine cocktail’ against many diseases by loading it with gene fragments from other viruses… This might make it possible to use the manipulated polio virus as a carrier for vaccines against AIDS, influenza, pneumonia and other contagious diseases that take root in mucous membranes.” The study was reported in the journal Science… ”in the Science study…” reported manipulating a polio virus so that it contained genes from part of the cholera, influenza, and HIV viruses. None of the engineered genes can cause disease…”

The July 25,1995, issue of The Washington Post had a health article by Steve Sternberg: “Which Polio Vaccine Is Really Better?” The article came out within a month after Salk’s death:

“For more than a decade, the only polio cases originating in this country have come from one source: Sabin’s polio vaccine, which is squirted into an infant’s mouth… As a result, the nation’s most influential vaccine advisory group decided on June 29 that the time for change has come. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agreed to draw up a new strategy…”

“Salk made his by killing the virus with formaldehyde. Still, using Sabin’s live-virus vaccine confers a public health benefit, that-–until now—-has outweighed its risks, at least in the minds of many experts… Once the oral vaccine’s strain of virus has taken hold in the gut, two things happen. White blood cells are primed to destroy any wild polio virus that might later enter the intestinal tract. Also, vaccine recipients begin to shed weakened virus in their feces, a process which may last weeks or months. Any susceptible person who comes in contact with these germs—-by changing diapers, perhaps—-may also build an immunity to the ravages of the disease.”

(P.S. - or “catch” polio as in the case of a Midwest farmer who sued the government, which denied it. He lost everything in the 1980’s, including his life. The family’s story was on “60 Minutes” and done by Morely Safer. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the truth came out. He and his family were right. The vaccine caused his polio. But he still lost his lawsuit, his farm and his life.)

“When the Vaccine Causes the Polio” by Christine Gorman in the October 30, 1995, issue of Time, stated “One in five American children is unvaccinated for polio. These children, or anyone with a weakened immune system, could contract the disease.”

“After weighing the risks and benefits, the CDC panel decided to split the difference. Their recommendation, which is slated to become official policy in 1996, is to inoculate infants twice with the killed-virus and then twice more with the live-virus vaccine.

“Inactivated polio vaccine for the United States: a missed vaccination opportunity” by Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal of October, 1995 (Vol. 14, No. 10):
He discussed his support for the IPV vaccine change in the immunization schedule. He cited the June, 1995, meeting of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices that had been followed by a 2-day symposium organized by the Institute of Medicine, and the CDC.

“Soon after the beginning of studies with OPV, a phenomenon became evident that is now better understood through analysis by the tools of molecular biology: reversion to virulence. Attenuation of live polio virus strains by passage in cell culture was the result of relatively few mutations, which have now been identified. When the attenuated strains multiply in the intestinal tract of vaccines, reverse mutation occurs normally in the RNA genomes. Unfortunately, the revertants have a selective advantage for replication in the intestinal cells and soon outgrow the original attenuated mutants. These revertants have altered properties, including some increase in neuro-virulence.

“The herd effect of OPV is based on the intestinal immunity induced by the live virus and by spread of the vaccine strains to unvaccinated children. That spread occurs is beyond question, but the estimation of its importance is disputed. In United States inner city populations, a CDC study suggested that 10% to 20% of unvaccinated children had been vaccinated by contact.”

New York magazine of November 11, 1996, had an article by Pat Wechsler, “A Shot in the Dark” subtitled: "When a vaccine became available that would eradicate polio, a panicked government rushed it to the public. But did it act too quickly? Early batches of the vaccine were contaminated with a monkey virus that now may be linked to cancer. And New York is one of the areas most at risk.”

“Scientists have been aware since the late fifties that this virus—-later identified as Simian Virus 40, or simply SV40—-caused deadly tumors in laboratory hamsters. But they are only now finding the footprints of SV40 in humans in rare lung, bone, and brain cancers… experts increasingly fear that the rogue monkey virus may play a direct role in causing cancer in some adults.”

“Tests of stored vaccine—-conducted by the National Cancer Institute in 1963--revealed that 19 states, including New York, Pennsylvania, and most of New England, received heavily contaminated shipments of vaccine between May and July 1955. That translated into close to 4 million children being inoculated with high levels of SV40… there is strong probability that a significant number of the batches produced between April 1955 and March 1963 were tainted. So far, however, the Food and Drug Administration has not been forthcoming…”

“Unless one is an animal handler or a lab technician—-or has spent time in the jungles of India or the Philippines—-there is only one confirmed way to be exposed to SV40: the polio vaccine, often handed out free of charge by the government.”

The first major epidemic in the US was recorded in NYC in 1916—-9,023 cases and 2,448 deaths. 1952 peak year—-60,000 people contracted the disease and 3,000 deaths with thousands paralyzed.

In June, 1955, Dr. John Enders, a Harvard virologist who had won a Nobel prize for his work on developing a polio vaccine, suggested that “It was indeed the technique for producing the vaccine that was flawed.” He also warned that “beyond the risk of failing to kill the polio virus, the defective technique raised the risk of including other agents whose presence may or may not be recognized.”

In 1957 another great name, Dr. Maurice Hilleman who joined Merck laboratories, “…became the first person to name and describe an unknown virus from the monkey renal cells that turned out to be SV40.”

“As early as 1960, some batches were tested and found to be contaminated with SV40. The public was never told.” Officials were afraid of starting a panic, for “If you added to that the fact that they found live [monkey] virus in the vaccine, there would have been hysteria,” Hilleman said.

Janet Butel, a prominent researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, was quoted: “In hindsight, we had a piece of data that should have shown us something… But at the time, the risk-benefit ratio of using the vaccine was huge.” Ironically, the government didn’t mind keeping a harvest of cranberries from market because they were exposed to a pesticide that caused cancer in lab rats.”

“Scientists are not prone to public speculation, but some privately suggest that humans may have begun to transmit SV40 among one another in the same ways its original monkey hosts have done for generations—-through some form of contact, sexual or otherwise. Whatever the answer, it is clear that after decades of silence, the secret about SV40 and the polio vaccine is now out of the box.”

“Shocking STAR medical file: “POLIO VACCINE AND CANCER: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW” was the title in the tabloid's November 26, 1996, issue: “Even more frightening, some scientists believe the virus may have already mutated and can be transmitted through human contact—-ultimately causing an epidemic similar to AIDS.” The article then went on to list the 34 states that received contaminated batches.

On January 27, 1997 the Office of Vaccines Research and Review sponsored a “SV40 Workshop: Summary and Future Directions.”

The workshop was sponsored by US government groups from the National Institutes of Health, the CDC, the FDA (6 governmental agencies provided taxpayer funding).

One item I found interesting in the summary was that SV40 was present in the adenovirus vaccines from 1956-1961. This is a vaccine usually given to our troops.

“Book Revives Theory AIDS Virus Began in African Polio Vaccine Tests” was an article in the December 2, 1999, Watertown (NY) Daily Times:
“This provocative theory seemed far-fetched when it first came to public attention in an article in Rolling Stone in 1992. Most AIDS experts dismissed it after a scientific committee reviewed the theory and deemed the probability very low. But that panel based its conclusion in part on a published finding that was later shown to be in error.”

“In ‘The River’ (Little, Brown), Edward Hooper suggests that an experimental oral polio vaccine might have been made with chimpanzee tissue contaminated with an ancestor of the virus that was to cause AIDS… Hooper…has done a prodigious amount of research since 1990… he builds a case based entirely on circumstantial evidence that he accumulated in hundreds of interviews and exhaustive library research.”

Still even if the vaccine thesis is disproved, Hooper’s research has embarrassed scientists. He has found that leading researchers kept sloppy records and that prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals published reports that omitted crucial details.”

“Betrayed by Polio Vaccine” by Glenn Coin was the Syracuse (NY) Post Standard headline of October 8, 1999:
His article told the story of 2-month old Zachary Strain who got his oral polio and then a few weeks later developed a fever and polio, nearly paralyzed from the neck down.

“Doctors don’t know for sure if the disease is polio… Doctors are certain Zachary has been infected with an enterovirus, a family of hundreds of viruses that includes polio… Still, one infectious disease expert cautions against assuming Zachary has polio unless laboratory tests are definitive.”

(My update—Zachary died on January 22, 2002. His obituary read that he contracted polio from a vaccine he received in May, 1999 but died of pneumonia.)

The Herald-Sun, Durham, North Carolina of Sept. 12, 2000, had an article “Lab tests find no link to polio vaccine, AIDS”:
“Independent laboratory tests in London found no evidence to support the theory that an experimental polio vaccine used on about 1 million Africans in the 1950’s inadvertently triggered the AIDS epidemic… The prevailing theory is that a hunter became infected after being scratched by a chimp when trying to capture it or after cutting himself while butchering the animal. However, some experts suspect that polio vaccine made with contaminated chimpanzee cells may have been the culprit.”

Brian Vastag wrote “At Polio’s End Game, Strategies Differ” in the JAMA of December 12, 2001, Vol. 286, No. 22:
“…originally the primary partners—-WHO, the CDC, UNICEF, and Rotary International—-had planned an abrupt end to international immunization. But last year’s outbreak of vaccine-induced polio on the island of Hispaniola…fractured that plan.”

“Polio experts have known for decades that OPV, which uses a live-attenuated virus, can cause polio. In fact, as far back as 1977 the Institute of Medicine noted that vaccine-caused polio outstripped natural cases in the United States… But on Hispaniola, the virus did what had been predicted but never seen, namely ‘backmutating’ to a communicable strain…As this new virus spread across the island, it shed from the unimmunized population, growing meaner and meaner with each hop. After 2 or 3 years, it had regained its virulence.”

“One option…is a ‘big bang’ worldwide immunization push followed by country to country voluntary vaccination… Another strategy calls for switching the entire world to IPV for a set period, allowing OPV strains to die off while maintaining population immunity.”

In the July 19, 2002 issue of The Wall Street Journal, the science journal column by Sharon Begley was devoted to “Are Tainted Vaccines Given to Baby Boomers Now Causing Cancer?”

She recounts some of the history of 1961, but she jumps ahead to 1999 when Dr. Herbert Ratner, a former public health official in Oak Park, Illinois, invited Dr. Michele Carbone of Loyola University School of Medicine over for coffee. Dr. Ratner had refused to give the Salk polio vaccine for he felt it wasn’t safe. He saved 7 vials in his basement refrigerator for 44 years and gave them to Dr. Carbone who investigated the possibility that the SV40-contaminated vaccines caused some cancers.

“Amid dueling data, some facts are uncontested. An estimated 2/3 of the polio vaccines—the oral Sabin and the injected Salk—administered from 1955-1962 contained SV40… Contaminated vaccine was also given to children and some adults in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany, and possibly Russia, Mexico and other countries.”

Some cancers caused by SV40: lung, brain, bone, blood. The experts claim that the cancers are rare, except “With non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we’re no longer talking about rare malignancies. This cancer has spiked 82% in the U.S. since 1973…”

“Today’s children are at no risk from polio vaccine; it’s now grown in SV40-free cells.”


It boggles my mind that since 1977 the IOM knew polio vaccine caused polio, so its "safety" was questionable. Yet the IOM seemingly did nothing to protect the public, but did all in order to protect vaccinations from public rejection and uproar.

Since then it has gotten worse, as government has institutionalized vaccines (President Clinton’s Executive Orders in the 1990’s—Interagency Cooperation) and now vaccines are being job-mandated.

The rush for a quick fix led to a rejection of alternative solutions, such as nutritional, and ignored the cases of polio and cancer caused by the vaccine to be factored into the “risk/benefit” analysis.

To me, the polio vaccine is the prototype for what we see today. Researchers come up with a product, ignore or deny some results and possible alternatives. They present a rosy picture for vaccine outcomes.

Then, when the problems undeniably surface, still deny. Then, after public memory is numbed, they admit errors, but come up with new solutions based on new technology that has not been carefully studied, deny possible risks…

I see this happening again with the HPV vaccine and also genetic engineering.

Unfortunately, the public still accepts forced vaccination because we don’t want to make the real changes in our behavior and attitude that might be necessary. For whatever reason, the majority of us are still willing to line up to get whatever vaccine is being promoted for our health because the government and science “say so” and celebrities generally promote and endorse vaccination.

Public “concern” over vaccine safety is not enough; we need public action and more than just the few hundred people who write letters to lawmakers, newspapers, or show up at rallies and conferences. We still have not reached the tipping point for meaningful change regarding mandatory vaccination policies--just look at State legislative calendars each year with proposed new vaccine mandates.

Bonnie Plumeri Franz