Each day, thousands of parents present their children for vaccination at schools, clinics, and private physician’s offices. Most are good parents who want the best for their children. What parent doesn’t dream of having healthy children?

Most parents consider vaccination to be a necessary part of the child raising process. The medical paradigm is so deeply engraved into the consciousness of most Americans that few question the procedure.

The rare parent who questions the wisdom of administering vaccines to a child is quickly met with intense criticism. Such a parent will be badgered by relatives, pediatricians. and school nurses. If emotional manipulation fails, coercion will be employed.

The issue of vaccination is too complex to adequately address in a short column. However, it is possible to present one illustration of vaccine technology gone terribly wrong. That example is polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine is often cited as one of the greatest triumphs of modern medicine. Persons who lived through the polio epidemic of the 1950s remember the braces and iron lungs. They watched the disease seemingly vanish following the polio vaccination campaign, and credited the vaccine. Yet, there is much more to the story than meets the eye.

Let’s look at what really happened.

Infectious diseases often come and go in cycles. By 1942, the polio epidemic of the first half of the century was subsiding, and there were fewer than 5,000 cases reported in the United States. Around 1948, the number of polio cases increased dramatically. Polio reached a high in 1949 with nearly 43,000 cases. This was followed by a natural decline. By 1951, the number had dropped to 28,000 cases.

Following a government subsidized study of polio vaccine and its mass administration, the number of cases soared to an all-time high of 55,000 cases. The manufacturing process for the vaccine was altered, and the natural decline of the disease continued. The vaccine took the credit — a classic case of confusing correlation with cause and effect, and the “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” fallacy. (1)

Another abuse of statistics involved a change in the diagnostic criteria for polio. As noted in the Los Angeles County Health Index: Morbidity and Mortality, Reportable Diseases, “Most cases reported prior to July 1, 1958 as non-paralytic poliomyelitis are now reported as viral or aseptic meningitis.” Why? Since the vaccine allegedly “wiped out” polio, persons with polio symptoms must have had something else!

Today, it is readily acknowledged that the live virus vaccine will rarely cause polio in a vaccine recipient or the caretaker of a vaccine recipient who may handle an infected diaper. A report by the Institute of Medicine concluded that causality was established between oral polio vaccine, poliomyelitis, and death from polio-strain virus infection. (2)

Yet, this admittedly small risk is not nearly as worrisome as the long term consequences which may follow administration of the polio vaccine.

Polio vaccine was (and still is) produced using monkey kidney tissue. As a result, contamination of these vaccines with monkey viruses is a more insidious risk. The effects of such viral contamination may not appear until decades after the vaccine is administered. Harvard Medical School professor Ronald Desrosier referred to this polio vaccine risk as a “ticking time bomb.” (3)

Although only about two percent of monkey viruses are known, an important monkey virus, SV-40, has been found in polio vaccines. SV-40 is a carcinogen. Unusual forms of cancer bearing the distinctive DNA pattern of monkey virus have been found in persons who received the vaccine decades ago. (4,5)

Dr. Maurice Hillman of Merck described the virus in the 1950s. Vaccine batches as early as 1960 were found to be contaminated with the virus, but the public was never told. Hillman explained why: “It was important not to convey to the public (this) information, because you could start a panic. They already had production problems with people getting polio. If you added to that the fact that they found live (monkey) virus in the vaccine, there would have been hysteria.” (4)

Although it is claimed that current vaccines are free of SV-40, the virus has been detected in human semen. (6)

The virus, which originally was transmitted by the vaccine, may have integrated itself into the genomes of the vaccine recipients, causing it to be transmitted through sexual contact. Since it is possible to test only for the roughly two percent of known monkey viruses, testing for SV-40 offers little comfort.

Besides causing cancer, it has been suggested that polio vaccine may be responsible for the emergence of AIDS and other new diseases.

Biologist Richard de Long wrote: “During the last twenty years a number of new and very serious diseases has arisen. Some of these are Reye’s syndrome, Kawasaki disease, Lassa fever, Marburg disease, non-A non-B hepatitis, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. …

“Since 1961 we have been immunizing the human population with attenuated viral vaccines en masse. Such unparalleled use of live viral vaccines may be the reason for the appearance of new diseases. …

“Since most humans in the world are now harboring live vaccine viruses of different kinds within their cells, the probability of genetic recombination between these viruses and other viruses as they infect cells becomes quite high. …

“All the new diseases listed above appeared after the mass administration of the live poliomyelitis vaccine and followed by mass immunization with other live viral vaccines.” (7)

More recently, the popular magazine Rolling Stone (8) reported concerns raised in an article published in The Lancet (9).

It was suggested that the origin of AIDS may have been oral polio vaccine contaminated with Simian (monkey) retroviruses. Other authors have hypothesized that the AIDS pandemic may have originated with a contaminated polio vaccine. (10)

The adverse effects of polio vaccine include the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome. (11,12)

Guillain-Barre syndrome has been found temporally related to the administration of oral polio vaccine. Ironically, the symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome are similar to those associated with poliomyelitis in the 1950s and 1960s.

It is reprehensible that parents, led by sincere but misguided physicians, subject their children to vaccination — a ritual of cultural child abuse.


1. Kent C, Gentempo P: “Immunizations: fact, myth and speculation.” International Review of Chiropractic Nov/Dec 1990;45(6):13.

2. Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Johnston RB Jr: “Adverse events associated with childhood diseases other than pertussis and rubella.” Summary of a report from the Institute of Medicine. JAMA 1994;271(20):1602.

3. Rock A: “The lethal dangers of the billion-dollar vaccine business.” Money Dec 1996:148.

4. Wechsler P: “A shot in the dark.” New York Nov 11, 1996:38.

5. Pennisi E: “Monkey virus DNA found in rare human cancers.” Science Feb 7 1997;275(5301):748.

6. Martini F, Iaccheri L, Lazzarin L, et al: “SV40 early antigen and large T antigen in human brain tumors, peripheral blood cells, and sperm fluids from healthy individuals.” Cancer Res 1996;56(20):4820.

7. de Long R: “A possible cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other new diseases.” Med Hypotheses 1984;13(4):395.

8. Curtis T: “The origin of AIDS: a startling new theory attempts to answer the question ‘was it an act of God or an act of man?’” Rolling Stone Mar 19, 1992:54.

9. Kyle WS: “Simian retroviruses, polio vaccine, and origin of AIDS.” The Lancet 1992;339(8793):600.

10. Ellswood BF, Stricker RB: “Polio vaccines and the origin of AIDS.” Med Hypotheses 1994;42(6):347.

11. Kinnunen E, Farkkila M, Hovi T, et al: “Incidence of Guillain- Barre syndrome during a nationwide oral poliovirus vaccine campaign.” Neurology 1989;39(8):1034.

12. Friedrich F, Filippis AM, Schatzmayr HG: “Temporal association between the isolation of Sabin-related poliovirus vaccine strains and the Guillain-Barre syndrome.” Rev Inst Trop Sao Paulo 1996;38(1):55.

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