An Ebola vaccine that protected us from this killer disease would be a godsend. But rushing a vaccine to widespread use, history has shown, could be tragic, not only by infecting the healthy but also by delaying the development of safe and effective vaccines.
In 1934 and 1935, two polio vaccines were prematurely employed in large-scale trials with disastrous results. The vaccines, given to 17,000 children in Canada and the U.S., killed six and paralyzed a dozen others, the deaths and paralyses typically involving paralysis in the inoculated arm rather than in the legs, as was more normal. So traumatic was this experience — to both the public and the research establishment — that it would take another two decades before another polio vaccine would be brought to market.
Tragically, the 1955 vaccine — named after its inventor, Jonas Salk — had an even more disastrous debut. In the rush to mass-produce this vaccine amid the polio outbreaks of the early 1950s — this vaccine received the quickest federal approval on record — caution was thrown to the winds, with Salk and the head of the National Institute of Health refusing to heed warnings, including from other scientists in the field and from a scientist within the NIH itself. The result: 70,000 afflicted by the polio vaccine, 51 of them left permanently paralyzed, plus five deaths. These afflictions were then followed by an epidemic among the family and friends that these vaccine recipients came into contact with, with a further 113 paralyses plus five deaths.
Excellent piece, Mr. Solomon. Why is it that no one in the mainstream news ever admits that vaccines, like any other medical product, carry risks? WHEN IT COMES TO VACCINES, WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT THE FAILURES OF THE PAST. With only rare exception, we’re constantly told on every major network, newspaper and magazine that vaccines carry no real risks. With over 250 new vaccines in the testing stages right now, we have to be ready to accept an ever-increasing numbers of recommended vaccines. In the case of our children, they are mandated by the states.
What everyone reading this needs to realize, when it comes to an Ebola vaccine and every other shot out there…neither the doctor nor the vaccine maker has any liability in the U.S. They’ve been protected by federal law. Instead, when someone is injured by a vaccine, they have to appeal to a federal program where they’ll find themselves up against government lawyers defending a government program using government money. Few people are ever successful. Those that are report that it took seven to fourteen years to reach a settlement.