Nor has the polio vaccine, for all of its efficacy, been a risk-free remedy. There were accidents and deaths from the beginning – starting with the Cutter incident in the first weeks of the mass vaccine campaign, in which tainted shots paralyzed dozens of children and killed five.[lxii] There is ongoing debate about whether a cancer-causing monkey virus, SV-40, infected millions of doses of vaccine in the 1960s and may be causing cancers today.[lxiii] There is the theory that mass vaccine trials in Africa in the 1950s gave rise to the AIDS epidemic – an idea that has been dismissed and derided by the medical industry with the same religious disregard for inconvenient truths as we’ve seen in other man-made epidemics.[lxiv]
And the live virus vaccine now in use in South Asia and Africa indisputably spreads the virus and, in a small percentage of case, causes poliomyelitis. For that reason alone, vaccination may perpetuate polio in the service of eradicating it. The vaccine strain also can and does mutate. (“Polio spreads fast in Nigeria after rare mutation,” reads a 2009 headline.)[lxv] The only thing better than ending polio epidemics, in short, would have been not causing them in the first place. The real polio narrative is an American tragedy as much as the triumph of scientific medicine.