Smallpox in the USA


Was smallpox eliminated in the USA by vaccines?

(emphasis mine)

The CDC on smallpox vaccination (USA) in the early 20th century.

Smallpox. Smallpox is the only disease that has been eradicated. During 1900-1904, an average of 48,164 cases and 1528 deaths caused by both the severe (variola major) and milder (variola minor) forms of smallpox were reported each year in the United States (1). The pattern in the decline of smallpox was sporadic. Outbreaks of variola major occurred periodically in the first quarter of the 1900s and then ceased abruptly in 1929. Outbreaks of variola minor declined in the 1940s, and the last case in the United States was reported in 1949.

Source – Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999 Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children — United States, 1990-1998

Plotkin and Orenstein on smallpox vaccination (USA)in the early 20th century.

However, antivaccinationist sentiment and antipathy toward compulsory measures prevailed in many states, most of which passed no legislation or prohibited compulsory vaccination. Reported cases of smallpox declined from 102,791 in 1921 to 30,151 in 1931, and between 1932 and 1939, 5000 to 15,000 cases were reported annually, with 23 to 52 deaths. During the following decade, reported cases steadily diminished, the last occurring in 1949. This progress occurred in the absence of any nationally coordinated smallpox control effort, and little is known about the extent of vaccination immunity in the country during the 1940s or about the epidemiology of smallpox. However, improved smallpox control, and eventually its elimination, is attributed by Leak (see below) to the wider availability of better refrigeration and, consequently, better preservation of the vaccine. Routine vaccination continued in the United States until 1971 as a protection in case smallpox was imported and was enforced in most states by compelling vaccination as a requirement for school entry.

Vaccines. 3rd edition. Editors – S.A. Plotkin and W.A. Orenstein. Published 1999.

J.P. Leak, Surgeon Public Health Rep. 1927 Jan 28; 42(4): 221–282.

Who are Plotkin and Orenstein?

Stanley Plotkin 

Dr. Stanley Plotkin has such a storied vaccine development career that one might say he wrote the book on vaccines. In fact, he did and his book “Vaccines”, now in its 6th edition, is the standard medical reference. Dr. Plotkin’s background reads like a roadmap of 20th century infectious disease—polio, rubella, rotavirus, rabies, and varicella (chicken pox). His career has been spent on the development of these vaccines and he now advises and influences clinical practice, academia, vaccine policy, as well as industry.

Walter Orenstein

Dr. Orenstein worked for 26 years in the Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1988-2004, he was the Director of the United States Immunization Program. Dr Orenstein is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Pediatrics, as well as Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and Director of the Emory Program on Vaccine Policy and Development

Marc Girard M.D., M.Sc. on the science of vaccination



(please note this page has been updated on 2nd August 2017 due to incorrect information)

Marc Girard, MSc, MD – Biography
After a first training leading to a MSc in mathematics (partial differential equations), Marc Girard became a MD in parallel of his research on mathematical modelling. He works on drugs mainly as a consultant for pharmaceutical firms, and also practices as a psychotherapist of Freudian obedience.
Besides a number of scientific papers (about 90, most of them in peer-reviewed journals), he published also in literary criticism, esp. about Flaubert, Balzac, Zola as well as the Grimm’s tales. His experience as a drug specialist goes from the early phases of development (I, II and III) to late post-marketing, with a long standing interest in safety (monitoring of clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, pharmacoepidemiology): as early as in 1984, he was the first French author to publish a criticism on the methods used to assess the causality of drugs adverse reactions. He also has a long practice of co-operation with regulatory departments as well as marketing teams, including the redaction of a number of expert reports and medical writing (papers, brochures, proceedings). He was also a medical expert witness and has been commissioned by French Judges in a number of judicial litigations involving drugs (growth hormone, appetite suppressants, cerivastatine, vaccines…); in France, his papers published in judicial journals (about drug causality, defective products and medical expertise) have been appreciated by a number of lawyers and magistrates, and he is currently in charge of a seminar on drugs and medical expertise in two Faculties of law (Versailles & Chambéry). He is also regularly invited to comment on the ethics of drug development.


 Here are some of his comments and papers regarding vaccines.

extract from Editorial – Being or not being an “activist”, that is the question

In effect, if this is so easy for amateurs to get involved in vaccine controversies, this is because as a whole, the development, assessment and administration of these agents is a shame for the medical world: the weaknesses, contradictions, dissimulations and even lies of most vaccine leaders or governmental “experts” are so gross that they cannot escape the attention even of non medically-trained persons.



Marc Girard’s comment on “Safety of vaccines used for routine immunization of U.S. children: a systematic review.”

“By the distance between what it demonstrates and what it claims, this paper (as well as the preceding IOM report this one is supposed to update) illustrates that the issue of vaccines safety is still a matter of serious concern for anyone endowed with a minimum of expertise in drug safety or pharmacoepidemiology.”


On VAERS safety data-

“Another illustration of the same bias: when reassuring, VAERS data are unchallenged, whereas the shortcomings of the system are immediately pointed out each time they may suggest a safety problem…”

On Iatrogenic risk

“Yet, experience of drug assessment suggests that below frequencies of, at best, 1-2% of exposed patients, clinical trials fail to identify drug side-effects with a minimum of reliability (the statistical power of postmarketing surveillance being even lower by far). In a country like the USA, this detection threshold is consistent with a shadow area on iatrogenic risk of about 40,000-80,000 persons per vaccine for each vaccinated class of age: it should be obvious that risk-taking of such a size is simply disproportionate to the potential benefits of reducing the morbidity of trivial diseases (even taking into account the natural tendency of vaccine promoters to exaggerate the efficacy of immunizations…). The stubborn obfuscation of this evident arithmetical imbalance by health professionals or governmental agencies suggests that there is something rotten in the kingdom of immunization…”

Safety of vaccines used for routine immunization of U.S. children: a systematic review.

Maglione MA. Pediatrics. 2014. (bottom of page)

Summary of points raised –

Methodological consistency and biases questioned.

Immunization against trivial diseases.

Conflict of interests

Methodological defects concerned with safety assessments in general

Underreporting of adverse events

VAERS data

Clinical trials and post marketing surveillance unreliable.

Iatrogenic risk of immunizations


2005 Letter to Dr Jong-wook Lee Director General – World Health Organization

Auto-immune risks of hepatitis B vaccination: a clue to biological plausibility

On Hep B-

It is blatant that in the promotion of the hepatitis B vaccination, the WHO has never been more than a screen for an undue commercial promotion, in particular via the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB), created, sponsored and infiltrated by the manufacturers (Scrip no. 2288, p. 22). In Sept 1998, while the dreadful hazards of the campaign had been given media coverage in France, the VHPB met an panel of “experts”, the reassuring conclusions of which were extensively announced as reflecting the WHO’s position: yet some of the participants in this panel had no more “expertise” than that of being employees of the manufacturers, and the vested interests of the rest did not receive any attention.



On Adverse events following vaccination-

Vaccine. 2013 Oct 17;31(44):5041-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.08.087. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

Assessment of causality of individual adverse events following immunization (AEFI): a WHO tool for global use.

On lack of expertise-

“As a drug specialist with a more than 30-year experience in safety, I was often missioned as a medical expert witness in criminal or civil inquiries on vaccine litigations, where I repeatedly pointed out the worrying lack of knowledge of most vaccine experts regarding the basic scientific and regulatory requirements normally applicable to pharmaceutical products – esp. as far as adverse reactions were concerned: this represents a tragic shortcoming for such preventive drugs, targeted towards people in perfect health with the problematic aim of protecting them against diseases the occurrence of which in a severe form is often an unlikely event, and for which therefore the risk of side-effects should not go beyond extremely narrow limits… Amongst many others examples, this paper by Tozzi et al. is an impressive illustration of this lack of expertise a far as drug safety is concerned.”

On algorithms-

“To come now to the assessment of causality of individual adverse reactions, the first remark is that the methodological inspiration of Tozzi et al. is regrettably obsolete. The use of algorithms has been almost completely abandoned by most regulatory bodies, for one reason which was pointed out more than 25 years ago …that use of algorithms is a tool for clinical decisions …whereas assessing causality in drug toxicity is a process of knowledge, and not of decision.”

On ingenuity –

After all and as the authors confess with an astonishing ingenuousness, the main point is it not, to “maintain public confidence in immunization programs”?

Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(1):84-6. Epub 2005 Sep 19.

On Multiple Sclerosis-

“….thus, if one focus on the late significant symptoms, this very long time lag is almost always interpreted as speaking against a vaccine role whereas, when considering the whole of symptoms sequence from its very beginning (i.e. from the time of quite discrete symptoms just after injection), it is on the contrary highly suggestive of a vaccine causality. I have never seen this crucial problem properly taken into account in any database, so that most investigations about the time between vaccination and the onset of MS symptoms are essentially misleading.”

Vaccines and the risk of multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system demyelinating diseases. Langer-Gould A.JAMA Neurol. 2014


On Hepatitis B Vaccine-

“In spite of a huge number of reports of severe hazards after injection of hepatitis B vaccine (HBV), the issue is regularly raised that no mechanism is available for the development of central demyelinating disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). A number of convergent facts, however, suggests that the manufacturing process could introduce HBV polymerase as a contaminant, and then trigger an auto-immune process against myelin in some vaccinated subjects.”

Multiple sclerosis and hepatitis B vaccination: adding the credibility of molecular biology to an unusual level of clinical and epidemiological evidence.

Full text


Links for Marc Girard and risks of Hep B vaccine.

Flu shots – what do the experts say?

Epidemiologist Tom Jefferson of the Cochrane Collaboration says he’s not anti-vaccine, but he is anti-poor evidence. The Cochrane Collaboration is a highly regarded, international, not for profit network which evaluates research on a topic and provides independent, unbiased information.

Jefferson maintains that large studies have not been carried out to see just how effective flu vaccines really are, or aren’t. One rationale often used is that it is unethical to give a placebo. Jefferson says if that is a problem, then why aren’t studies randomized against masks, hand-washing or gloves? These measures have been proven to work against all strains of the flu, unlike vaccines.

Some of the studies Jefferson has examined have patently ridiculous conclusions. One which looked at at flu vaccines for the elderly found that the shot protected not only against influenza, but against death from stroke, hypothermia, accidents, heart attack and in fact most common causes of death. It would be a modern medical miracle if it were real.

The Cochrane systematic review found almost three quarters of studies were considered to be of poor quality with ‘overoptimistic’ conclusions, or in other words, the results and the summary don’t tally. Higher quality and government funded studies were less likely to favour vaccines.

Regarding pandemic predictions, Jefferson says that the new WHO definition of pandemic omits that it should cause a large amount of illness or death in a population. It’s now just a new virus which transmits quickly and that we have low immunity to. In fact he feels there is an industry built around these predictions, few of which have any substance. In actuality the amount of people who catch or die from influenza is overestimated, with only 7-15% of influenza like illnesses being attributable to the virus. Much of what we think is the flu is not, and physicians and patients alike cannot tell the difference without specialised testing. Vaccines aren’t any use against these ‘influenza like illnesses’ (ILI) – comprised of up to 200 different pathogens – as they are only protective against certain strains of the flu. Government campaigns to promote flu shots provide ‘data’ purporting to show large amounts of illness and deaths attributed to the flu; but in reality they are unsure how much of it is flu and how much is ILI as surveillance systems cannot differentiate.

Peter Doshi is an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland and associate editor at The BMJ. He has worked with the Cochrane Collaboration since 2009 reviewing antiviral drugs for influenza.

In a 2013 feature which ran in JAMA on the flu, Doshi said that “the disease is less fearful than advertised, the vaccines are less beneficial than believed, and the harms of vaccines are not easily dismissed.” He cited the Australian Fluvax debacle and the European narcolepsy fiasco as examples of safety concerns. Doshi also contends that influenza vaccines are aggressively marketed with very little evidence that they work. He calls it ‘disease mongering’ – sales tactics which try to increase the uptake of new products and to make you think that pharmaceuticals should be a normal part of everyday life.

And yes it was also Doshi who worked on the Cochrane Collaboration review of Tamiflu which found that there was a ‘paucity of good data’ supporting the claim that Tamiflu reduced complications from the flu. In addition he campaigns for transparency from the drug companies, asking them to hand over data on clinical trials.  As you can imagine, these activities make him a target for vaccine proselytizers.

Vaccine evangelist/science blogger Skeptical Raptor, disses Doshi when he claims he is not on the faculty at Maryland (he is) and suggests that he doesn’t have a background in research despite the fact that the BMJ and Cochrane Collaboration feel he is amply qualified to comment on these matters. After all he is not doing ‘research’ in the lab, and never claims to have – he is reviewing research that is already available and finding it somewhat lacking. Skeptical Raptor writes so often about Peter Doshi that one must assume that he feels his ‘debunking’ has failed and he needs to back it up with more misinformation.

Doshi is not the only target for the science bloggers- Orac or David Gorski who describes himself as a surgeon/scientist has had a go at Tom Jefferson. On his page’ Respectful Insolence’ Orac’s best attempt to disparage him boiled down to a) he’s a boring dinner companion and b) “Jefferson typically fails to consider the totality of evidence into context and draw conclusions based on more than a very narrow set of observations.”

Considering that Jefferson’s review of flu studies encompassed 274 papers published between 1948 and 2007, I am unable to understand how this fails to consider the totality of evidence, but there you  go, vaccine zealots are undeterred by credible reviews carried out by credible researchers.


Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic’s View

Relation of study quality, concordance, take home message, funding, and impact in studies of influenza vaccines: systematic review

Der Spiegel 07/21/2009

Interview with Epidemiologist Tom Jefferson

‘A Whole Industry Is Waiting For A Pandemic’


 Dr Tom Jefferson on influenza vaccination


 Influenza Vaccines Time for a Rethink


 Influenza: marketing vaccine by marketing disease


Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis

The Cochrane Collaborative’s Tom Jefferson makes the huge mistake of appearing on Gary Null’s show


Human Cell Lines used in Vaccines

To create a vaccine you need a method to propagate quantities of the bacterium or virus. In the early days of vaccine production, calves were used to produce cox pox virus and even into the mid 20th century pathogens continued to be grown in live animals or animal cells. After the discovery of viruses like the SV40 in animal cells, focus shifted to the viability of human cell lines in the late 60’s. WI-38 and MRC-5 are the two main human cell lines used in vaccine development, with Hepatitis A, rubella, varicella, zoster and MMR being the most commonly used vaccines created with the use of these lines.

Influenza vaccines are still made today using hen’s eggs with the embryo removed, a technology developed in the forties. This method is rather slow and dependant on a continuous supply of hen’s eggs, and is not compatible with the industry’s need to produce vast quantities of vaccines in a short space of time assuming that some of those mythical pandemics eventuate. But human cell lines also have limitations; they will only replicate a certain number of times before dying. This is where tumour cells come in; cancer is all about limitless multiplication of cells which is a handy attribute for vaccine makers.  In the lab this infinite replication translates to a higher yield at a lower cost.

In 2001 a paper on the FDA website outlined some concerns about the use of human cancer cells or designer cells as they called them, for manufacturing viral vaccines.

“Residual DNA in vaccines derived from tumorigenic cells….can pose potential risks to the vaccine recipient in two respects: oncogenicity and infectivity” Oncogenicity is the ability to induce tumours, and infectivity is the capacity to spread disease. Neither of which would seem to be desirable traits.

“..the incoming DNA could integrate into the host genome in certain genes…. tumor suppressor genes, which are involved in cell cycle control among other cellular processes. Loss of function of tumor suppressor genes has been associated with certain human tumors.” Fully functional tumor suppressor genes are something that I think we all would like to keep.

Currently the FDA have an industry guidance document which require the manufacturers to demonstrate that the final product is free of the introduced viral sequences. But get this – “Tumorigenic or tumor-derived cell lines for which the mechanism of transformation is unknown will require additional testing to ensure the absence of potential transforming and oncogenic agents”. Surely it will be more difficult to rid the product of something when you are not sure exactly what it is you’re looking for.

Another problem is the presence of adventitious agents ie any type of virus, bacteria, mycoplasma or TSE (mad cow disease) that you didn’t know was likely to be in there. SV 40 found in early polio vaccines is an example.

In 2013 a company called PaxVax gained FDA approval for A549 cell substrate in human clinical trials. A549 was produced from the culturing of a cancerous human lung tissue. PaxVax plan to produce the H5 Pandemic flu vaccine using this cell line. So don’t forget to rush out and get your flu shot next winter, chances are it might be made using this technology.


Current and Emerging Cell Culture Manufacturing Technologies for Influenza Vaccines

Medical research: Cell division

“Designer” Cells as Substrates for the Manufacture of Viral Vaccines

A549: Taking Viral Vaccine Production to the Next Level

Matrix and Backstage: Cellular Substrates for Viral Vaccines

Human Cell Strains in Vaccine Development

vaccine excipients

Cell-Culture-Based Vaccine Production: Technological Options

Guidance for Industry

Characterization and Qualification of

Cell Substrates and Other Biological

Materials Used in the Production of Viral

Vaccines for Infectious Disease


How to write a pro vaccine article

Here’s a great example  X

This is what I took away from “California Set to Mandate Childhood Vaccines Amid Intense Fight” in the New York Times.

1# Interview people who can’t have vaccines, and talk about their rights, but ignore the rights of those who are vaccine damaged.

2# Repeat the ‘science is settled’ or similar as often as possible.

3# Say that measles, mumps and rubella have almost been eliminated by vaccines and pretend that with mandatory vaccination these diseases will disappear altogether.

4# Call the arguments of those who resist vaccination mandates – ‘emotional debates’

5# Mention the autism vaccine link as a) being discredited, and b) as the main reason that people don’t vaccinate

6# Mention herd immunity (relating to vaccination not naturally acquired disease) as if is a fact and not a theory.

7# Wheel out an expert to say vaccines are safe and responsibility to public health overrides individual choice.

8# Make out that immunization rates are low, when in reality California has vaccine coverage above 92% for each vaccine at all schools.

#9 Blame unvaccinated children for the rise in pertussis cases*, oblivious to the science which shows that waning immunity, vaccine selection pressure and asymptomatic vaccinated pertussis carriers are the real cause.

* they forgot to do this, but I thought I’d add it in anyway for good measure.