Danger of Forced
It is well-known among knowledgeable medical personnel that, at the present time, smallpox vaccine is not a safe thing to take into a person’s body. Even worse is anthrax vaccine. This book will explain exactly what both are like.
Forced immunization. A proposed federal act, widely discussed since fall 2001, would, if a crisis developed, require every U.S. citizen to receive smallpox and/or anthrax vaccinations.
The U.S. military plans to vaccinate all our military personnel with anthrax vaccine before 2005. In chapter 3, you will learn why that should not be done.
However, the immediate concern is about smallpox. The U.S. government has a strong interest in having 500,000 medical workers receive the smallpox vaccine, and later the general population. So just below, and in the next chapter, attention will be focused on the smallpox vaccine.
Those vaccinations could be disastrous to many people. Because so many are living on fast food, junk food, tobacco, alcohol, and street drugs, many Americans are not physically ready, even for a smallpox vaccination.
Yet many like the idea. A poll taken in the summer of 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 81% of the public would get vaccinated if the smallpox vaccine were available.
Dangers of mass vaccination. Here is how one news magazine described it:
“The pressing ‘post-9/11 question’ is how the public can best be protected—with the least risk—in the event of a bioterrorist attack involving smallpox . .
“After the anthrax scare, the government ordered some 210 million [smallpox] doses, and by year’s end there will be enough for most Americans. But about 38 million Americans can’t be vaccinated because of health risks, including . . compromised immune systems.”—“How Small a Pox?” U.S. News and World Report, June 17, 2002.
The article also discusses how smallpox vaccines can cause encephalitis (brain inflammation) or outright death.
According to Patricia Doyle, Ph.D., 55 million doses of the smallpox vaccine, which the government is planning to have Americans take in order to protect them, have been made by Acambis. Aborted human fetal embryo tissue was used in their preparation. This is a concern for right-to-life advocates; but, because it will be injected directly into the bloodstream, DNA modifications could be induced in the recipients.
MASS VACCINATION AHEAD
Background. Smallpox has not existed in nature for 25 years; so the only way it could return is through deliberate release by terrorists. Unfortunately, our leaders believe this may soon happen.
This subject is very serious; and you should read the following information carefully.
Smallpox may be the worst disease ever known to man. It killed about half a billion people from 1880 to 1980, before it was eradicated. The smallpox vaccine is also deadly. Scientists call it the most dangerous vaccine known to man.
The vaccine was developed in 1796, and is essentially the same today. All the vaccines we use today are the result of modern technology. But the smallpox vaccine is different and may have severe side effects.
Here is an example of how dangerous it is: If you scratch where the fresh vaccine pox is and put it into your eye, you can transfer smallpox to the eye. If some of the fluid from it touches another person, he may contract the disease. If you get “progressive vaccinia,” your immune system is compromised; the virus continues to grow; and is often the cause of death.
The last U.S. case of smallpox was recorded in 1949. By the late 1970s, smallpox was said to be wiped out worldwide. There has not been a human case of smallpox anywhere in the world since 1977. It has been 31 years since smallpox vaccinations ceased to be given in the United States. All Americans born after 1971 are vulnerable; and it is likely that those inoculated prior to 1971 are no longer immune.
U.S. intelligence experts believe that several foreign governments have samples of the smallpox virus and could use them as biological weapons on American soldiers. Terrorist attacks involving smallpox in the U.S. homeland are also feared. Smallpox agents would be a powerful tool in a terrorist arsenal. The virus kills 30% of its victims. It is highly contagious; and medical authorities declare that there is no known treatment other than vaccination.
There were many different strains of the disease; but the most virulent strains tended, on average, to kill about a third of their victims. Some people developed rare forms of smallpox, such as the hemorrhagic form, which is almost universally fatal.
Foreign stockpiles. According to the United Nations, there are only two legal repositories for the deadly smallpox virus. One is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The other is at Vector in western Siberia.
The repository in Russia was not carefully guarded from 1990 to 1999; and it is believed that supplies of smallpox virus were either stolen or purchased from guards. But, more recently, security at the site has been beefed up.
At the present time, there are three different high fences surrounding that Siberian storage site; and entrance can only be made by permission of armed guards through a large steel entrance.
In addition, there is evidence that some of the Russian scientists have been lured by Iran and Iraq into moving there and helping them build stockpiles.
We know, from senior Russian defectors, that Russia had a very large biological weapons program, including the weaponization of literally tons of smallpox during the 1980s and before. It is very unlikely that every last gram of that material has been accounted for. All this is the basis of major government concern.
On November 10, 2002, the Washington Post quoted U.S. intelligence sources as saying that four other nations have secret stocks of smallpox virus: Iraq, North Korea, Russia, and (a surprise) France (although French officials deny it). It is believed that, by purchase or theft, they got their stockpiles from Russia, probably since 1991.
We know that Iraq was vaccinating its troops at the time of the Gulf War. This would indicate that, back then, it already had stockpiles and was preparing to use them if Baghdad was attacked by allied forces.
Later investigators found that Iraqi officials had ordered a freeze dryer that was labeled “smallpox” in Arabic; however, the Iraqis claimed they had been producing vaccine and not the virus itself.
The Iraqis did admit that they had been working with camelpox, which is a very close genetic relative of smallpox. Although it does not cause appreciable illness in humans, there was some speculation that perhaps camelpox was being used as a surrogate, a safe-model virus that could be used to develop weaponization and delivery techniques for actually delivering human smallpox as a weapon.
Now that the 2003 Iraqi War is over, the danger from Iraqi smallpox stockpiles is not a thing of the past. It is very possible that they have not yet been found. It would be relatively easy to hide them.
Decision to vaccinate. For several months, an internal argument was carried on in the U.S. government, concerning what to do about this problem. The vice president led out in expressing concern about terrorism and the need for vaccinating Americans, as a preventive measure. On the other side was the public health community, especially the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, who have been extremely concerned about the dangers of inoculating Americans, either health workers or the public, with the smallpox vaccine. More on these dangers below.
But, because of the serious danger of a smallpox attack by terrorists, the White House won. Recently the CDC released a plan for mass vaccination in the event of a smallpox outbreak. But, unless an actual attack occurs, the government fears to carry out mass vaccination of the U.S. public. Too many illnesses and deaths could occur.
Vaccination dangers. The problem is that the vaccine, although highly effective, is associated with a significant risk of complications. We know that, years ago, about 15 people per million developed very serious complications and roughly two per million died from the vaccine itself. But it is believed that a far greater number would become ill or die from the vaccine, if it were given today.
First, in people with an impaired immune system, the vaccine virus can replicate out of control and cause serious illness and even death. Second, there are far more people today who have impaired immune systems! We are here dealing with a live virus vaccine. This is what makes it dangerous.
Those especially at risk by receiving a smallpox vaccination are children under 10, those with HIV and other immune system disorders, patients taking cancer chemotherapy, those on steroids and other immune-lowering drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, those with a history of eczema, and pregnant women.
Authorities advise caution, such as wearing a special plastic dressing over the vaccination scar for several weeks, in order to prevent the accinia virus from accidentally infecting others.
Under White House pressure, in late October, the Food and Drug Administration quietly approved the use of available vaccine stocks. That made it possible to begin vaccinating Americans. But, after U.S. troops head overseas, who inside America, should be vaccinated first?
Recognizing the terrible threat of a smallpox attack in early 2003, the administration struggled with the question of how many people should be vaccinated in advance of a terrorist release of the disease.
Why the urgency to vaccinate. Many in the public health community could not figure out why the Bush administration is moving closer to large-scale vaccinations, when the virus is so hazardous and the likelihood of a smallpox attack is so little known.
The answer to this puzzle lies in two facts: First, the Bush administration had a sizeable amount of secret intelligence, gathered through the CIA, FBI, and other sources. The possibility of such an attack is very real.
Second, the White House has known that, as soon as it attacks Iraq—which it fully intends to do—Saddam Hussein would be very likely to have agents, already implanted in the U.S., release smallpox within our borders.
On November 27, the White House confirmed reports from state health departments, that large-scale smallpox vaccinations of health care workers could begin before the end of 2002. The plan was to vaccinate half a million of them.
The risks of vaccinating nurses, doctors, and other civilian health care workers against a possible smallpox threat has been the subject of intense debate.
Two deadlines were initially set for the new plans. One was for states to submit plans by December 1st on how nearly all Americans could be vaccinated, soon after an attack.
Unknown effects. A second date, December 9th or shortly thereafter, was set to begin the first phase of vaccinating about half a million health care workers. These would be the people, mostly in hospitals, who would receive the first cases of smallpox in the event of an attack. Yet it would also include many public health officials in every state who would go out and investigate possible cases.
The unexpected part of the new deadline was that all states had been told to be ready to do this vaccinating within 30 days after the program began.
This announcement came as a shock to knowledgeable state health officials. They had been hoping, and even expecting, to be able to do it more slowly and methodically because they wanted to monitor closely for side effects.
Although, decades ago, a half million people could be vaccinated with smallpox vaccine, with only one or two deaths and a half dozen or so life-threatening complications, the situation is different now. It is known that far too many people today have weaker immune systems.
A deepening crisis. How many people in the U.S. are now protected by previous smallpox vaccinations? Theoretically it could be tens of millions of Americans; for most of us over 30 were vaccinated decades ago. But it is not clear, after all those years, whether any of those people would still have residual immunity to smallpox.
If you are an older person, how can you tell if you have ever had a smallpox vaccination? There will be a small telltale scar, usually on your left (sometimes right) shoulder.
As of December 2002, the plan was to vaccinate about a hundred health care workers in each U.S. hospital. Thus inoculated, they would be able to safely treat a potential of thousands of Americans who might contract smallpox from terrorists. But on December 18, under intense pressure from hospitals, physicians, and medical workers, the government relented and said the vaccination of medical workers would, at this time, be voluntary.
Yet, even if it is voluntary, this would not be like getting a flu shot. The smallpox vaccine is a live virus; and the flu vaccine has dead viruses.
The vaccination process. The type of virus in the live virus vaccine is not derived from smallpox virus itself, but from a cousin (a related virus, called vaccinia, which, scientists tell us, replicates in the skin and produces good immunity that cross-reacts and protects against smallpox infection).
For this purpose, a special needle is required. It is a bifurcated needle that looks like a very small shrimp fork. It is dipped into the live vaccine and then, using it, the skin is punctured in a circular fashion in order to try to induce an irritant to the skin. The wound oozes virus for about three weeks. The smallpox vaccine produces, what is called, a “controlled infection,” related to smallpox.
All during that three weeks, the wound is covered with a bandage and changed daily. The scar will have to be examined frequently, to make sure the infection is not out of control. As long as the scar remains small, everything is doing well; but, if it festers too much, a severe sickness could develop. Anyone receiving the vaccination, who has a low immunity level, is in danger of contracting the disease.
Human immune systems generally fight off the vaccinia, then develop immunity to vaccinia and the related smallpox. But some people’s immune systems cannot combat the virus, and vaccinia itself becomes a potentially deadly infection that spreads.
Infecting others. As if that was not enough of a problem, there is also the problem of “first responders.” These are the people who will be initially vaccinated. For a brief period, about three weeks, they will be able to infect others they meet with smallpox!
Indeed, everyone who is vaccinated—whether it be hospital workers or anyone else—should limit their exposure to others, so that the virus will not spread.
Those who have impaired immune systems will be especially liable to dangerous infection. This, of course, could include many of the patients in the workers’ hospitals, weakened as they are by various diseases, infections, and recent surgeries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes vaccinating children now, citing a lack of suitable testing. So apparently that may not be done. But they could still contract it from those who have been vaccinated. The immune system of small children is often precarious.
When health care workers, or anyone else, is vaccinated, they will need to remain at home for three weeks, so they will not infect others.
What happened in Israel. When the nation of Israel recently vaccinated its health care workers, about 20% developed health problems. That is a large number, one in five. About 30% missed one or more days of work.
We learned from their experience that many who were vaccinated felt sickish about six days later. They had redness, swelling, fever, and flu-like symptoms. Many ached, felt sore, and could not move their arms very well. How would hospital workers—or the rest of us—manage for several weeks in such a condition?
People who have eczema, asthma, AIDS, or another immune-deficiency disease should not be vaccinated or get near anyone who has been.
Considering all that is involved, by December 26, 2002, the Israeli government decided that it was too risky to vaccinate its 3.5 million citizens against smallpox. This decision was made, in spite of the forthcoming U.S.-Iraq War,
If terrorists strike. If, due to terrorism or our own mass vaccinations, an actual outbreak of smallpox were to occur, then millions would want to be vaccinated.
If they developed complications, they could be treated with an antidote to the vaccine; this is called VIG, vaccinia immune globulin. That is what was done in Israel. Yet, in spite of the antidote, serious problems still developed.
Today there are so many more people who are infected with HIV, eczema, asthma, and other reduced immunity problems, that far more individuals would potentially be susceptible to serious complications from the smallpox vaccine.
Federal officials favor offering vaccines to the general public after 10 million health care workers have been inoculated and once the vaccine is licensed in 2004 for general use.
Unable to meet the crisis. On September 24, 2002, the New York Times discussed what would happen if terrorist smallpox was released here and efforts were made to mass vaccinate the general public:
“The new guidelines for states on mass smallpox vaccinations are most notable for what was omitted. Unanswered and often unaddressed are critical questions like timing, costs, feasibility and the multiple problems of preparing health care workers to conduct vaccinations and communicating the plans to the public . .
“Dr. Mohammed Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the plan good but questioned its feasibility. ‘This is a huge and massive undertaking, the likes of which we’ve never seen in our history,’ Dr. Akhter said. If a smallpox attack came tonight, he added, ‘there’s no way the state and local health departments would be able to implement the plan . .
“Jonathan B. Tucker, a germ-weapons expert in Washington . . said, ‘A real potential problem is how you ensure that a vaccination process is orderly and people don’t panic.’ Mr. Tucker said, ‘What we saw last fall with the anthrax attacks, which were much less threatening than a smallpox outbreak would be, was public hysteria. In the context of a vaccination campaign, that would be very problematic’.
“In theory, during a deadly outbreak, mass smallpox vaccinations can protect many people: The vaccine is one of the few immunizations that can work even if a person is already infected. The vaccine can fully protect people if given within four days of exposure to the virus.
“The new plan addresses only the most comprehensive response to an outbreak of the contagious disease, which kills about one in three victims. It does not address giving vaccinations to anyone before an attack or an outbreak, only afterward . .
“Dr. Tucker added . . ‘It’s very unclear whether CDC or the states are developing the necessary communication strategy to prevent panic in the event of an outbreak’ . . The general goal is to be ready to vaccinate every American by the end of this year. Acambis, a company in Cambridge, England, is making 209 million doses of the vaccine for the [U.S.] federal government . . Dr. Akhter, of the public health group, said an even bigger unknown was who in Washington would make the decision to begin mass vaccinations and how that decision would be communicated.”—New York Times, September 24, 2002.
Not protect against terrorist smallpox. In chapters 3 and 4, you will learn why no anthrax vaccine we could make will protect us against anthrax brought to us by a terrorist. The same applies to smallpox. It is documented that there are over a thousand strains of anthrax, plus genetically modified ones. It is also relatively easy for a terrorist nation to prepare various strains of smallpox, which no vaccine can resist.
An oral vaccine. In the testing stage is an oral smallpox drug. Current smallpox drugs require intravenous injections, making them impossible to distribute quickly. It is said that the first oral smallpox drug will be much more effective, reportedly offering complete protection in 24 hours. Safety trials on the new drug are next.
However, it should be kept in mind that the oral polio vaccine, placed on the market in the late 1950s, was at first thought to be far superior to the injected form developed nearly a decade earlier. But the oral form ultimately turned out to be far more dangerous! Just because a drug company claims a forthcoming smallpox drug will be more effective does not mean it will be safer.
American opinion. Since they lack much of the information on the subject which you have just read, half of all Americans, according to a recent poll, would choose vaccination if given the option.