By Dr. Christopher Kent
By the time you read this, you will undoubtedly have been bombarded with media hits that are warning of the great bird flu pandemic. Medicine, of course, is urging folks to roll up their sleeves for a flu shot, lest they perish in a 21st century reincarnation of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Scare tactics to sell vaccines are nothing new. Indeed, fear is Pharma’s stock in trade. But can they be believed? As one health reporter noted, “According to the CDC’s most recent death statistics located on their Web site, influenza and pneumonia killed 62,034 people in 2001. That means, in light of the current statistic, that just over half of those deaths resulted from the flu. This however is far from true.
“Upon further investigation of the Web site, the actual number of deaths caused by the flu came to 257, with pneumonia accounting for the remaining number of deaths.”  You can check the links provided to see for yourself.
Vaccine enthusiasts reached the height of their folly in 1976, when a pandemic of “killer swine flu” was predicted.  America was asked to buy a “pig in a poke” and accept vaccination. The media proclaimed that failure to do so would result in an epidemic that would rival any in recorded history. The government spent millions on the vaccine. The outcome? There were deaths. There were cases of paralysis. But they were not from the dreaded “killer flu.” They resulted from the vaccine that was supposed to prevent it.
J. Anthony Morris, onetime head of influenza control in the U.S., warned his superiors in the federal government that the vaccine was dangerous and probably ineffective. When they refused to act, he went directly to the media. Morris advised the public that the vaccine was unsafe, and an epidemic was unlikely. As a result, he was fired from his position at the Food and Drug Administration. His experimental animals, representing years of research, were destroyed. Publication of his findings were blocked by his superiors.
Other scientists and physicians were also critical of the vaccine. Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, in a letter to the author dated May 11, 1976, indicated that he and his wife did not intend to take the vaccine because he felt there was “significant danger” associated with it.
The Lancaster, Pennsylvania Intelligencer Journal of August 14, 1976 reported on a survey of practicing physicians asked about the vaccine. 100% of the physicians surveyed said they would not administer swine flu shots to their own children. T.A. Vonder Haar, then Coordinator of Programs in Public Policy at the University of Missouri stated in a letter dated May 10, 1976, “Virus vaccines are notoriously ineffective…flu vaccines have been documented as having contained SV40, a known carcinogen, with full FDA knowledge.”
Even the insurance industry balked at this one. They refused to indemnify vaccine makers against claims arising from the administration of swine flu vaccine C. Joseph Stetler, then president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association was quoted by UPI as saying, “It’s like you taking out a life insurance policy and suddenly becoming a kamikaze pilot.” The answer? The government agreed to insure the vaccine makers! What was the result of this debacle?
According to Newsweek, July 18, 1977, $135 million was appropriated by Congress to indemnify vaccine makers. However, claims totaling more than $1.3 billion dollars were filed with the Justice Department alleging injury or death as a result of the swine flu shots. 517 Americans were struck with GuillainBarre syndrome, and at least 23 died. And what of the killer epidemic? The total number of swine flu cases was six, and in some cases the diagnosis was questionable.
The World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA) has recommended that people of all ages add chiropractic to their strategy for warding off and fighting the flu and its effects. According to the WCA:
“Spinal adjustments can have a positive effect on immune function, the WCA asserts, citing a growing number of researchers who are exploring the common denominators in disease processes, and the role of the nervous, immune, and hormonal systems in development of immune related illnesses.
“Chiropractic corrects spinal abnormalities called vertebral subluxations that result in interference of the nervous system by placing pressure on nerves. Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body including the immune system chiropractic care can have a positive effect on immune function, WCA officials note.”
A review of this literature is beyond the scope of this column. Interested readers are referred to a bibliography of relevant citations posted on the WCA website. 
Chiropractic care provided a beacon of light for what was the 191718 influenza epidemic, which brought death and fear to many Americans. It has been estimated that 20 million died throughout the world, including about 500,000 Americans. Walter Rhodes  provides fascinating information about the profession during those years. A chiropractic pioneer wrote, “I was about to go out of business when the flu epidemic came but when it was over, I was firmly established in practice.” The results were spectacular.
Rhodes reported that in Davenport, Iowa, medical doctors treated 93,590 patients with 6,116 deaths a loss of one patient out of every 15. Chiropractors at the Palmer School of Chiropractic adjusted 1,635 cases, with only one death. Outside Davenport, chiropractors in Iowa cared for 4,735 cases with only six deaths one out of 866.
During the same epidemic, in Oklahoma, out of 3,490 flu patients under chiropractic care, there were only seven deaths. Furthermore, chiropractors were called in 233 cases given up as lost after medical treatment, and reportedly “saved all but 25.”
Flu shots seem to be more a product of cultural superstition than good science. Think twice before rolling up your sleeve.
4. Rhodes WR: “The Official History of Chiropractic in Texas.” Texas Chiropractic Association. Austin, TX. 1978.