The Myths about the Polio Vaccine’s Safety and Efficacy

By Richard Gale and Dr. Gary Null
Progressive Radio Network, September 16, 2019

During the past couple years there has been a slew of draconian vaccine bills aggressively being pushed upon state legislators to legally enforce vaccination against Americans freedom of choice. Beside removing religious and philosophical exemptions, states such as California, are also making efforts to remove doctor ordered medical exemptions and shifting these cases to state bureaucrats.  When faced with a barrage of peer-reviewed scientific facts confirming vaccine failures, and vaccines’ lack of efficacy and safety, the most ardent vaccine advocates are fond of bringing up the polio vaccine as modern medical miracle. However, the confirmation of the claim that polio was eradicated in the US through the success of a mass population vaccination campaign is questionable on scientific grounds.

The horribly simplistic belief that polio is an exemplary model for all other vaccines is both naïve and dangerous.  Vaccinology does not follow a one-size-fits-all theory as the pro-vaccine industry propagates to the public. For any coherent public debate, it is necessary for each vaccine to be critically discerned upon its own terms with respect to its rate of efficacy, the properties of viral infection and immune response, vaccine adverse effects, and the long term risks that may not present detrimental symptoms until years after inoculation.

Although the live polio vaccine has been discontinued in developed nations, due to the risks of it causing polio-like paralysis, it is still administered in poorer undeveloped countries. Unlike the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), the oral vaccine is cheaper to manufacture but carries far more risks.

It is a very dangerous assumption to believe that any new vaccine or drug to fight an infectious disease or life-threatening disease will be safe once released upon an uninformed public. The history of pharmaceutical science is a story of disastrous failures as well as successes. Numerous drugs over the decades have been approved and found more dangerous than the illness being targeted, but only after hundreds of thousands of people were turned into guinea pigs by the medical establishment.  In the case of vaccines, both the first human papilloma vaccine (Gardasil) and Paul Offit’s vaccine for rotavirus (Rotateq) were disasters. Both were fast tracked through the FDA and both failed to live up to their promises.

This scenario of fast tracking unsafe and poorly researched vaccines was certainly the case for one of the first polio vaccines in 1955. In fact, the polio vaccine received FDA approval and licensure only after two hours of regulatory review – the fastest approved drug in the FDA’s history. Known as the Cutter Incident, because the vaccine was manufactured by Cutter Laboratories, within days of after the first vaccination campaign, 40,000 children were left with polio, 200 with severe paralysis and ten deaths.  Shortly thereafter the vaccine was quickly withdrawn from circulation and abandoned.[1]

Modern medical wisdom believes that the enterovirus associated with  poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease.  The virus enters the body’s system through the gastrointestinal tract, often because of fecal contamination in water resources.  According to the CDC’s website, the majority of people who contract this enterovirus will not experience any symptoms. Approximately 25% will show temporary flu-like symptoms that disappear after several days.  It is only after the virus enters the bloodstream and infects alpha-motor neurons that are located in the spinal cord’s anterior gray matter is there the danger of  paralytic poliomyelitis developing.  A question that has plagued historians of medicine is whether or not the scourge of paralysis starting in 1916, well before the introduction of the first polio vaccine, was ever caused by the virus in the first place.   And before 1916, when there was an enormous leap in paralysis cases from near zero to 3 per 10,000 in a single year,  why were there no recorded cases in the medical literature before this time?  Moreover, after a couple years, the rates declined back to near zero. Why? For the next 35 years, there would continue to be these large peaks and vales until 1948 when polio cases started to skyrocket.  The enterovirus theory has never provided a satisfactory answer to account for poliomyelitis’ sporadic trends.

In his Vaccines, Autoimmunity and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness, Dr. Thomas Cowan identifies some odd coincidences during the periods when paralysis cases spiked. For example. the first cases of paralytic polio clustered around Coney Island in the New York, and later started to appear in the larger cities of the Northeastern states, such as Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.  Curiously, the two major spikes in poliomyelitis cases — 1916 to 1918, and 1948-1955 — correlate with the widespread use of two dangerously neurotoxic chemicals: arsenite of soda and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, commonly known as DDT.

At the end of the 19th century, the majority of sugar came from Hawaii’s sugarcane plantations. The industry was in a crisis due to weed proliferation. A plantation owner, Charles Eckhart, came up with the idea of spraying fields with a very potent form of arsenic known as arsenite of soda. Arsenic is also higly toxic to anterior horn cells. Over the years, sugar entering the US mainland was heavily contaminated with this neuro-toxin.  The first recorded case of so-called polio was noted in Sweden where an arsenic-based insecticide was employed, and the famous Vermont polio outbreak several years later happened in a region where a lead arsenite spray was used to eradicate gypsy moths.  Around this same period, the Swiss scientist Paul Hermann Muller first synthesized DDT in 1874 and started to be used as an insecticide in Europe to combat gypsy moths.

But the largest rise in polio cases occurred at the same time that DDT was indiscriminately sprayed across large regions of the US.  Older generations will remember television scenes of children literally being sprayed down with the chemical. Not all scientists were convinced that the epidemic of paralytic cases was being caused by a virus. Dr. John Polyani, who would later receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry, opposed the hypothesis because it failed to meet Koch’s postulates:  1) a pathogenic organism must be present in every case of disease, 2) that the pathogen must be isolated from a disease host, and 3) the disease must be reproduced when introduced into a healthy host. These postulates have never been completely validated for an enterovirus as the cause of poliomyelitis.

In the 1940s, Dr. Morton Biskind, a Connecticut physician, had already identified a relationship between poliomyelitis paralysis increase and the widespread use of DDT. Other researchers followed suit, including Dr. Ralph Scoby who testified before Congress in 1952 — after the radical decline in paralysis cases and a reduction in DDT usage — and called polio “classic poisoning.” The following year Biskind published a paper concluding that “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.”  His testimony before Congress stated that DDT’s poisoning of spinal cord may also “increase the susceptibility to the virus.”  Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry which was fully committed to create a vaccine against an enterovirus never heeded this other body of science challenging the viral-only theory.

The CDC’s website still promulgates an untruth that the Salk vaccine was a modern medical success. To the contrary, officials at the National Institutes of Health were convinced that the vaccine was contributing to a rise in polio and paralysis cases in the 1950s.  In 1957 Eleanor McBean documented in her book The Poisoned Needle that government officials stated the vaccine was “worthless as a preventive and dangerous to take.”  Some states such as Idaho where several people died after receiving the Salk vaccine, wanted to hold the vaccine makers legally liable.  Dr. Salk himself testified in 1976 that his killed virus vaccine, which continued to be distributed in the US until 2000, was the “principal if not sole cause” of all polio cases in the US since 1961.  However, after much lobbying and political leveraging, the drug industry seduced the US Public Health Service to proclaim the vaccine safe.[2]  Although this occurred in the 1950s, this same private industry game plan to coerce and buy off government health agencies has become epidemic with practically every vaccine brought to market during the past 50 years.

Today, US authorities proudly claim the nation is polio-free. Likewise, the country is also free of the rampant use of highly neuro-toxic chemicals such as arsenic pesticides and DDT.  Medical authorities and advocates of mass vaccination raise the polio vaccine as an example of a vaccine that eradicated a virus and proof of the unfounded “herd immune theory”.  Undoubtedly, there is a correlation; however, correlation does not prove causation.  Dr. Suzanne Humphries, a nephrologist and one of today’s most outspoken medical critics against vaccines has documented thoroughly that polio’s disappearance was actually a game of smoke and mirrors.[3]  By 1961, the polio vaccine should have been ruled a dismal failure and abandoned since more people were being paralyzed from the vaccines than wild poliovirus infection.

The 1950s mark a decade of remarkable medical achievement; it also marked a period of high scientific naiveté and enthusiastic idealism.  Another problem arose after paralytic conditions were given a variety of names in an attempt to distinguish them, although some, such paralysis due to polio, aseptic meningitis and Coxsackie, were indistinguishable.  One of the more devious names was Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), a class of paralyses indistinguishable from the paralysis occurring in thousands within the vaccinated population. It was therefore incumbent upon health authorities to transfer polio vaccine-related injuries to non-poliovirus causation in order to salvage vaccination campaigns and relieve public fears.  Dr. Humphries and her colleagues have noted a direct relationship between the increase in AFP through 2011 and government claims of declining polio infectious rates parallel with increased vaccination. [4]

One of the largest and most devious medical scandals in the history of American medicine also concerns the polio vaccine.  In an excellent history about the polio vaccine, Neil Miller shares the story of Dr. Bernice Eddy, a scientist at the NIH who in 1959 “discovered that the polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer.”  As the story is told, her attempts to warn federal officials resulted in the removal of her laboratory and being demoted at the agency.[5]  It was only later that one of the nation’s most famous vaccine developers, Maurice Hilleman at Merck identified the agent as a cancer causing monkey virus, SV40, common in almost all rhesus monkeys being used to culture the polio virus for the vaccine.  This contaminant virus was found in all samples of the Sabin oral polio vaccine tested.  The virus was also being found in Salk’s killed polio injectable vaccine as well.  No one knows for certain how many American’s received SV40 contaminated vaccines, but some estimates put the figure as high as 100 million people.  That was greater than half the US population in 1963 when the vaccine was removed from the market.

Many Americans today, and even more around the world, continue to be threatened and suffer from the legacy of this lethal vaccine. Among some of the more alarming discoveries since the discovery of the SV40 in Salk’s and Sabin’s vaccines and its carcinogenic footprint in millions of Americans today are:

–  Loyola University Medical Center identified SV40 in 38% of bone cancer cases [6] 58% of mesothelioma cases, a life threatening lung cancer, had SV40 present
–  A later analysis of a large national cancer database found mesotheliomas were 178% higher among those who received the polio vaccines
–  A study published in Cancer Research found SV40 in 23 percent of blood samples taken and 45% of semen samples studied, thereby confirming that the monkey virus can be sexually transmitted.[7]
–  Osteosarcomas are 10 times higher in states where the polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 was most used, particularly throughout the Northeastern states [8]
–  Two 1988 studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that SV40 can be passed on to infants whose mother’s received the SV40 tainted vaccines. Those children later had a 13 times greater rate of brain tumors compared to children whose mothers did not receive the polio vaccines. This would also explain why these children’s’ tumors contained the SV40 virus present, even though the children themselves did not receive the vaccine. [9]

There is a very large body of scientific literature detailing the catastrophic consequences of SV40 virus infection. As of 2001, Neil Miller counted 62 peer-reviewed studies confirming the presence of SV40 in a variety of human tissues and different carcinomas.  Although the killed polio vaccines administered in developed countries no longer contain the SV40 virus, the oral vaccine continues to be the vaccine of choice in poor developing countries because its cost-effectiveness to manufacture.  Safety is clearly not a priority of the drug companies, health agencies and bureaucratic organizations that push the vaccine on impoverished children.

After almost sixty years of silence and a federally sanctioned cover up, the CDC finally admitted several years ago that the Salk and Sabin vaccines indeed were contaminated with the carcinogenic SV40 monkey virus. [10]

However, SV40 is not the only contaminate parents should be worried about. As with other vaccines, such as measles, mumps, influenza, smallpox and others, the viral component of the vaccine continues to be cultured in animal cell medium. This medium can contain monkey kidney cells, newborn calf serum, bovine extract and more recently clostridium tetani, the causative agent for tetanus infection. All animal tissue mediums can carry known and unknown pathogenic viruses, bacterial genetic residues, and foreign DNA fragments that pose countless potential health risks.  Based upon transcripts of CDC meetings on biological safety, the late medical investigative reporter, Janine Roberts, noted that vaccine makers and government health officials admit they have no way to prevent dangerous carcinogenic and autoimmune causative genetic material from being injected into an infant. Among the unwanted genetic material that might be found in vaccines today are:  cancer-causing oncogenes, bird leukemia virus, equine arthritic virus, prions (a protein responsible for Mad Cow Disease and other life threatening illnesses), enzyme reverse transcriptase (a biological marker associated with HIV infection), and a multitude of extraneous DNA fragments and contaminates that escape filtration during vaccine preparation. [11]

The CDC acknowledges that it is impossible to remove all foreign genetic and viral material from vaccines.  As Janine Roberts noted, the science behind the manufacture of vaccines is extraordinarily primitive.  Therefore, the CDC sets limits for how much genetic contamination by weight is permitted in a vaccine, and the agency over the years continues to increase the threshold.[12]

Amidst the polio vaccine debacle and mounds of scientific literature confirming the vaccines’ failure, US health agencies and the most ardent proponents of vaccines, such as Paul Offit and Bill Gates, retreat into the protected cloisters of medical denialism and continue to spew folktales of polio vaccines’ success.

The polio vaccines on the market have not improved very much during the past 60 years.  They continue to rely upon primitive manufacturing technology and animal tissue culturing.  The present IPV vaccine issued in the US is cultivated on calf bovine serum, continuous line of monkey kidney cells known as vero cells, phenoxyethanol (a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products), the carcinogen formaldehyde, and several antibiotics (i.e., neomycin, streptomycin and polymyxin B). Phenoxyethanol has received FDA warnings as a nervous system depressant, and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid cosmetic products that contain it.  

In recent years Bill Gates’ polio eradication campaigns in India have been dismal failures.  Touted as one of the “most expensive public health campaigns in history” according to Bloomberg Business, as many as 15 doses of oral polio vaccine failed to immunize the poorest of Indian children.  Severe gastrointestinal damage due to contaminated water and wretched sanitation conditions have made the vaccine ineffective.  Similar cases have been reported with the rotavirus and cholera vaccine failures in Brazil, Peru and Bangladesh.   According to epidemiologist Nicholas Grassly at Imperial College London, “ There is increasing evidence that oral polio failure is the result of exposure to other gut infections.” [13]

There is another even more frightening consequence of Gates’ vaccine boondoggle launched upon rural India in 2011.  This particular polio vaccine contains an increased dosage of the polio virus. In the April-June 2012 issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, a paper reported the incidence of 47,500 new cases of what is being termed “non-polio acute flaccid paralysis”, or NPAFP, following Gates polio campaign.[14]  The following year, there were over 53,500 reported cases. NPAFP is clinically indistinguishable from wild polio paralysis as well as polio vaccine-induced paralysis.  The primary difference is that NPAFP is far more fatal.[15]

Physicians at New Delhi’s St. Stephens Hospital analyzed national polio surveillance data and found direct links between the increased dosages of the polio vaccine and rise in NPAFP.  Coincidentally, the two states with the highest number of cases, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are also the two states with the worst water contamination, poverty and highest rates of gastrointestinal diseases reported by Bloomberg.  As early as 1948, during a particularly terrible polio outbreak in the US, Dr Benjamin Sandler at Oteen Veterans’ Hospital observed the relationship between polio infection, malnutrition and poor diets relying heavily on starches. [16]  According to nutrition data, white rice, the primary daily food staple among poorer Indians, has the highest starch content among all foods.[17]

Despite this crisis, in January 2014, Bill Gates, the WHO and the Indian government announced India is today a polio-free nation. [18] Another sleight of hand performance of the polio vaccine’s magical act.

The case of India, and subsequent cases in other developing nations, scientifically supports a claim vaccine opponents have stated for decades; that is, improving sanitation, providing clean water, healthy food, and the means for better hygiene practices are the safest and most efficacious measures for fighting infectious disease.  According to statistics compiled by Neil Miller, Director of ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute, the polio death rate had declined by 47% from 1923 to when the vaccine was introduced in 1953.  In the UK, the rate declined 55% and similar rates were observed in other European countries.[19]  Many historians of science, such as Robert Johnson at the University of Illinois, agree that the decrease in polio and other infectious diseases during the first half of the twentieth century were largely the result of concerted national public health efforts to improve sanitation and public water systems, crowded factory conditions, better hygienic food processing, and new advances in medicine and health care.  Relying upon the unfounded myth that vaccines are a magic bullet to protect a population suffering from extreme conditions of poverty, while failing to improve these populations’ living standards, is a no-win scenario.  Vaccines will continue to fail and further endanger the millions of children’s health with severely impaired immune systems with high levels of vaccines’ infectious agents and other toxic ingredients.

A further question that has arisen in recent years is whether or not a new more deadly polio virus has begun to merge as a result of over-vaccination.  Last year, researchers at the University of Bonn isolated a new strain of polio virus that evades vaccine protection. During a 2010 polio outbreak in a vaccinated region of the Congo, there were 445 cases of polio paralysis and 209 deaths. [20] This is only the most recent report of polio virus strains’ mutation that calls the entire medical edifice of the vaccine’s efficacy into question.   One of the first discoveries of the vaccine contributing to the rise of new polio strains was reported by the Institut Pasteur in 1993. Dr. Crainic at the Institut proved that if you vaccine a person with 3 strains of poliovirus, a fourth strain will emerge and therefore the vaccine itself is contributing to recombinant activity between strains.

Moreover, since the poliovirus is excreted through a person’s GI system, it is commonly present in sewage and then water sources.  In 2000, Japanese scientists discovered a new infectious polio strain in rivers and sewage near Tokyo.  After genetic sequencing, the novel mutation was able to be traced back to the polio vaccine.  Additional vaccine-derived polio strains have also been identified in Egypt, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.[21]

Therefore, the emergence of new polio strains due to over-vaccination is predictable. Similar developments are being discovered with a new pertussis strain that evades the current DPT vaccines.  For this reason, there has been an increase in whooping cough outbreaks among fully vaccinated children.  Influenza viruses regularly mutate and evade current flu vaccines.  The measles vaccine is becoming less and less effective, and again measles outbreaks are occurring among some of the most highly vaccinated populations.

As with the failure of antibiotics because of their over-reliance to fight infections, researchers are now more readily willing to entertain the likelihood that massive vaccination campaigns are contributing to the emergence of new, more deadly viral strains impervious to current vaccines.

Currently, federal agencies review the vaccine science, reinterpret the evidence as it sees fit, and are not held accountable for its misinformation and blatant denialism that threatens the health of countless children at the cost of tens of billions of dollars. Vaccine policies are driven by committees that govern vaccine scheduling and everyone is biased with deep conflict of interests with the private vaccine makers. Even if a person were to make the wild assumption that polio vaccines were responsible for the eradication of polio infection in the US, what has been the trade off?  According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013 over 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Twenty-four million Americans have autoimmune diseases.  How many of these may be related to the polio and other vaccines?  As we have detailed, In the case of the polio vaccine the evidence is extremely high that an infectious disease, believe to have been eliminated from the US, continues to ravage the lives of polio vaccine recipients. Nevertheless it can no longer be disputed that the polio vaccine’s devastating aftermath raises a serious question that American health officials and vaccine companies are fearful to have answered.

Today the private drug industry and its allies in the federal government write the scientific papers, interpret them and are never held accountable when they are wrong. Such are the policies now being driven by the federal committees overseeing the nation’s vaccination schedules. There is no independent science or objection based upon volumes of scientific research permitted in the vaccine hoax.


[1] Miller, N.  “The polio vaccine: a critical assessment of its arcane history, efficacy, and long-term health-related consequences” Medical Veritas. Vol. 1 239-251, 2004

[2] McBean E. The Poisoned Needle. Mokelumne Hill, California: Health Research,1957

[3]  Humphries, S.  “Smoke, Mirrors and the Disappearance of Polio,” International Medical Council on Vaccination. November 17, 2011

[4]  Humphries, S. and Bystrianyk, R.  Dissolving Illusions: Disaese, Vaccines and the Forgotten History. Self-published. 2013, pp 222-292

[5]  Miller, N.  op cit.

[6]  Carbone, M., et al. “SV-40 Like Sequences in Human Bone Tumors,” Oncogene, 13 (3), 1996, pp. 527–35

[7]  Miller, N. op cit.

[8]  Lancet, March 9, 2002

[9]  Miller, N. op cit.

[10] Mihalovic, D.  “CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine in an 8 Year Span When It Was Contaminated with Cancer Virus.”  Prevent Disease, July 17, 2013

[11]  Gale, R. and Null, G. “Vaccines’ Dark Inferno: What Is Not on Insert Labels.”  GlobalResearch. September 29, 2009.

[12]  Gale and Null, Ibid.

[13]  Narayan, A.  “Extra Food Means Nothing to Stunted Kids with Bad Water Health,” Bloomberg Business. June 12, 2013

[14] Vashisht, N. and Puliyel J. “Polio Program: Let Us Declare Victory and Move On,” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. April-June 9:2, 2012  pp 114-117

[15]  “53,000 Paralysis Cases in India from Polio Vaccine in a Year”  Child Health Safety. December 1, 2014

[16] Miller, N. op cit.

[17]  Chandra RK. “Reduced secretory antibody response to live attenuated measles and poliovirus vaccines in malnourished children,” British Medical Journal 2, 1975, 583–5

[18]  Krishnan, V.  “India to get polio-free status amid rise in acute flaccid paralysis cases,”  Live Mint (India), January 13, 2014.

[19] Miller, N. op cit.

[20]  Malory, M.  “Mutant poliovirus caused Republic of Congo outbreak in 2010,”  Medical Xpress. August 19, 2014

[21] Miller, N. op cit.

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