The 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine Fiasco


December 11, 2020 · 7:44 AM

Vaccinate or not?Most of you don’t keep in mind the 1976 flu epidemic. Early on, it seemed to be on monitor to equal the 1918 Spanish Flu loss of life charges. Politicians and public well being authorities felt like they higher do one thing, something, to avert catastrophe. Their response didn’t work out too nicely. COVID-19 isn’t the flu, however it’s a viral sickness that always seems to be just like the flu clinically.

From Uncover journal:

Vaccines have been as soon as considered an axiomatic good, a longed-for salvation within the type of a syringe, banishing crippling and lethal infections like polio, smallpox and tetanus. However inside the previous few a long time we now have seen the emergence of anti-vaccination actions and an increase in instances of childhood ailments which might be solely preventable with a fast jab to the arm.

Over the previous 5 years, outbreaks of mumps, measles and whooping cough have cropped up all through the nation. After which, after all, there’s widespread skepticism among the many common public on influenza and the deserves of a seasonal flu shot. Whilst outbreaks of avian and swine flu have periodically emerged on this nation, there are nonetheless individuals who resist vaccination in opposition to the flu. This seemingly pervasive opposition to flu vaccination isn’t with out its historic and sociological roots.

A number of the American public’s hesitance to embrace vaccines — the flu vaccine specifically — might be attributed to the long-lasting results of a failed 1976 political marketing campaign to mass-vaccinate the general public in opposition to a pressure of the swine flu virus. This government-led marketing campaign was broadly considered as a debacle and put an irreparable dent in future public well being initiatives, in addition to negatively influenced the general public’s notion of each the flu and the flu shot on this nation.

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However whereas the World Well being Group adopted a cautious “wait and see” coverage to observe the virus’s sample of illness and to trace the variety of rising infections, President Gerald Ford’s administration launched into a zealous marketing campaign to vaccinate each American with brisk effectivity. In late March, President Ford introduced in a press convention the federal government’s plan to vaccinate “each man, lady, and baby in the USA” (1). Emergency laws for the “Nationwide Swine Flu Immunization Program” was signed shortly thereafter on April 15th, 1976 and 6 months later excessive profile photographs of celebrities and political figures receiving the flu jab appeared within the media. Even President Ford himself was photographed in his workplace receiving his shot from the White Home physician.

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The American public might be notably skeptical of forceful authorities enterprises in public well being, whether or not involving vaccine advocacy or limitations on the dimensions of soppy drinks offered in quick meals chains and even data campaigns in opposition to rising outbreaks. The occasions of 1976 “triggered a permanent public backlash in opposition to flu vaccination, embarrassed the federal authorities and price the director of the U.S. Heart for Illness Management his job.”

One side of the fiasco was that of the 45 million U.S. residents unexpectedly vaccinated in opposition to Swine Flu, 450 developed a extreme neurological dysfunction known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.


Steve Parker, M.D.

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