A History Lesson on Polio: Part I (History)

I think it’s very important that we understand history. Otherwise, history get’s re-written, and eventually it becomes what everyone believes.

The following information was taken directly from the book: Vaccine Safety Manual. By: Neil Z. Miller, medical research journalist and Director of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute. The chapter on Polio comes referenced with 316 citations. 

What is Polio? Polio is a contagious disease caused by an intestinal virus.

How is Polio contracted? Polio can be spread through contact with contaminated feces (for example, by changing an infected baby’s diapers) or through airborne droplets, in food, or in water. The virus enters the body by nose or mouth, then travels to the intestines where it incubates. Next, it enters the bloodstream where “anti-polio” antibodies are produced. In most cases, this stops the progression of the virus and the individual gains permanent immunity against the disease. Many people mistakenly believe that anyone who contracts polio will become paralyzed or die. The truth is 95% of everyone who is exposed to the natural polio virus won’t exhibit any symptoms, even under epidemic conditions.

Injections also increase the susceptibility to polio. Researchers have shown since the early 1900’s that paralytic polio often starts at the site of injection (when diptheria and pertussis vaccines were introduced in 1940’s, cases of paralytic polio skyrocketed). This research has been confirmed in numerous published studies for decades, including a 1992 study, published in Journal of Infectious Diseases, showing that children who received DPT (diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis) injections were significantly more likely than controls to suffer paralytic polio within the next 30 days.  According to the authors, “this study confirms that injections are an important cause of provocative poliomyelitis”. In 1995, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study showing that children who received a single injection within one month after receiving a polio vaccine were 8 times more likely to contract polio than children who received no injections.

Nutritional Deficiencies: A poor diet has also been shown to raise susceptibility to polio. In 1948, during the height of polio epidemics, there were documented links between polio and excessive use of sugars and starches.

The Polio Vaccine: In 1952, Jonas Salk, an American physician and microbiologist, combined three types of polio virus grown in cultures made from monkey kidneys. Using formaldehyde, he was able to “kill” or inactivate the viral matter so that it would trigger an antibody response without causing the disease. That year he began his initial experiments on human subjects (school children). In April 1955, the nation’s first polio immunization program was launched. Shortly thereafter, 70,000 school children became seriously ill from Salk’s vaccine- the infamous “Cutter Incident”. Many of these children contracted polio from the vaccine, were paralyzed and died. Apparently, Salk’s “killed-virus” vaccine was not completely inactivated. The vaccine was redeveloped, and by August 1955 over 4 million doses were administered in the United States.

These were the “Polio Pioneers”. The children received a certificate of membership for taking part in the first national tests of a trial polio vaccine conducted in 1954. 1vaccine4

In 1957, Albert Sabin, another American physician and microbiologist, developed a live-virus (oral) vaccine against polio. He didn’t think Salk’s killed-virus vaccine would be effective at preventing epidemics. He wanted his vaccine to simulate a real-life infection. This meant using an attenuated or weakened form of the live virus. In 1963, Sabin’s oral “sugar cube” vaccine became available for general use.


Which Vaccine Is In Use Today? In 1963, Sabin’s oral vaccine quickly replaced Salk’s injectable shot.  It is cheaper to make, easier to take, and appears to provide greater  protection, including “herd immunity” in unvaccinated people.  However, it cannot be given to people with compromised immune systems. Plus, it is capable of causing  polio in some recipients of the vaccine, and in individuals with compromised immune systems who come into close contact with recently vaccinated children. This vaccine was given for 37 years, until 2000 when the CDC “updated” it’s U.S. polio vaccine recommendations, reverting back to the vaccine given in 1950’s, saying that children should only be given the killed-virus shot.

I’m going to end Part I at this point. I want to ask you, the reader, a question:

After 37 years, why did we stop using the oral live-virus vaccine (also known as OPV) and switch back to the killed-virus shot (also known as IPV: Inactivated Polio Virus)?

I’ll have the answer for you tomorrow!

THIS IS a 4 Part Series
Part I: History
Part II: Vaccine Safety & Effectiveness
Part III: Vaccine Effectiveness & Diagnosis
Part IV: Where are We Now?

11 thoughts on “A History Lesson on Polio: Part I (History)

  1. Great article. I will be interested in reading all parts. I am a little confused as to your report about the injectible vaccine causing polio. I don’t see children with polio, you don’t hear people reporting their kids get polio from the injections. Does it manifest itself differently now? What am I missing?


    1. You are not missing anything 🙂 It’s a 4-part series. Stay tuned. Great questions though…
      As far as what I shared in Part I, during the initial trials that injured the 70,000 school children, that was because Salk’s “killed-virus” vaccine was not completely inactivated. Then the vaccine was redeveloped. Keep in mind that Salk’s redeveloped killed-virus injectable vaccine was only used from around 1955-1963, when it was switched to Sabin’s live-virus vaccine. Tomorrow tomorrow we will find out exactly what that vaccine did for 37 years, before switching back to the inactivated polio vaccine in 2000, which is still given today.


  2. Such an interesting history. We have chosen not to vaccinate because I just cannot compromise the health of my children when there is so much evidence against vaccinations. I wish the government would do more studies in this area, but I know they won’t because it is such a money maker. I just watched the documentary The Greater Good last week with my husband. So interesting, and sad!

    I am nervous about the future of our government and possibly being forced to vaccinate at some point too.


    1. Lindsey, it is worse even than you know. I believe the government (be it the known officials or those with money and power driving the decisions) knows EXACTLY what it’s doing.

      Yeah, I’m a conspiracy theorist…and I fear for this DAILY. I need to remember to pray instead.


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