A History Lesson on Polio: Part III (Effectiveness & Diagnosis)



I ended Part II with the question: Do you believe it is necessary to administer 4 doses of the polio vaccine to children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, & 5 years?

I think the answer to this question will remain within each individual reader. However by the end of the series, I hope that you, the reader, will be able to answer this question. Fortunately, we still have the choice to make decisions based on our own conclusions.

Half way through this series (while trying to find pictures), I came across VaxTruth.org website that ran an excellent polio series using the same brilliant research of Neil Z.  Miller. The founder of VaxTruth is a personal friend and honestly her series is much more thorough, so please go over to VaxTruthto verify all info given in this series (she provides all citations & references). And thank-you VaxTruth for sharing such awesome graphs and pictures (used below in post).

Continued from: A History Lesson on Polio: Part II (Safety & Effectiveness)

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. 


How Effective are Polio Vaccines? Polio is virtually nonexistent in the United States today. However, according to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medical investigator and pediatrician, there is no credible scientific evidence that the vaccine caused polio to disappear. From 1923 to 1953, before the Salk killed-virus vaccine was introduced, the polio death rate in the United States and England had already declined on its own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Statistics show a similar decline in other European countries as well. And  when the vaccine did become available, many European countries questioned its effectiveness and refused to systematically inoculate their citizens.  Yet, polio epidemics also ended in these countries.

From 1923 to 1953, before the Salk killed-virus vaccine was introduced, the polio death rate in the United States and England had already declined on its own by 47 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Source: International Mortality Statistics (1981) by Michael Alderson.

The standards for defining polio were changed when the polio vaccine was introduced. The new definition of a polio epidemic required more cases to be reported. Paralytic polio was redefined as well, making it more difficult to confirm, and therefore tally, cases. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine the patient only had to exhibit paralytic symptoms for 24 hours. Laboratory confirmation and tests to determine residual paralysis were not required. The new definition required the patient to exhibit paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days, and residual paralysis had to be confirmed twice during the course of the disease. Also, after the vaccine was introduced cases of  aseptic meningitis (an infectious disease often difficult to distinguish from polio) and coxsackie virus infections were more often reported as separate diseases from polio. But such cases were counted as polio before the vaccine was introduced. The vaccine’s reported effectiveness was therefore skewed.

The Medical Definition of Polio Was Changed: 
Dr. Bernard Greenberg, chairman of the Committee on Evaluation and Standards of the American Public Health Association during the 1950s. His expert testimony was used as evidence during Congressional hearings in 1962. He credited the “decline” of polio cases not to the vaccine, but rather to a change in the way doctors were required to report cases: “Prior to 1954 any physician who reported paralytic poliomyelitis was doing his patient a service by way of subsidizing the cost of hospitalization… two examinations at least 24 hours apart was all that was required… In 1955 the criteria were changed… residual paralysis was determined 10 to 20 days after onset of illness and again 50 to 70 days after onset… This change in definition meant that in 1955 we started reporting a new disease… Furthermore, diagnostic procedures have continued to be refined. Coxsackie virus infections and aseptic meningitis have been distinguished from poliomyelitis… Thus, simply by changes in diagnostic criteria, the number of paralytic cases was predetermined to decrease…”


I’ll end Part III with these questions:How is Today’s Polio Vaccine Produced? Where are we now in the fight against Polio?

These questions will be answered in the final post, Part IIII: Where Are We Now?

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?


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