The last time I wrote about vaccines, I discussed the first of two vaccines often used as “glowing examples.” Today, its time to talk about the second – polio. Was this vaccine really effective? Why or why not? What was going on in the world at the same time that could have skewed the data? What were we NOT told about this story? Is the oral polio vaccine really safe? These are just a few of the questions I seek to answer in this episode.
First though, what is polio?
According to the experts, there are at least 8 virus families that can cause paralysis and polio-like symptoms. This is very important to note, because poliomyelitis (the long name for polio) is actually a description of what happens in the body when the spinal cord is damaged or altered by a virus. The worst of the worst conditions are those which end up affecting the brain stem and the breathing centers. However, exposure to these viruses does not equate to “polio” – certainly not paralysis, which is what immediately comes to the minds of many. These are gastro-intestinal viruses, similar to the flu.
Just how serious is this virus?
Dr Humphries points out that even during the worst polio outbreaks, 95% of the people infected (this is a virus that’s swallowed) would not even know they were infected. Another 4% would experience some diarrhea and muscle aches followed by complete recovery. If you are keeping track, that leaves 1%. Those in this group will have paralysis of one or two muscle groups lasting for 24 hours. All of these gain lasting immunity from the exposure. Of this 1% group, 5 – 10% of these will have some form of long-term paralysis. Again, this is 5 – 10% of 1% or 0.0005 to 0.001 of the infected community.
If we are immuno-compromised, we could fall into this last group – which is not a good thing. However, this is not so much a reflection of the danger of the disease as it is a warning about the risks of having a weak or compromised immune system! Under these conditions, almost any disease can have fatal or crippling outcomes. This is the HUGE takeaway we should have from all of these discussions.
I was about to go into a lot more detail here, but came across two recent articles that cover many of the same facts. So, I will include these two articles as PDF files you can download and read at your leisure. The bottom line is that polio vaccines are really BAD examples of “how well” vaccines work. In fact, they call ALL vaccines into question – both in terms of safety and efficacy.Is-the-Latest-Polio-Scare-Actually-Caused-by-the-Vaccine
It’s now clear to many, that what the world really needs is better education (not to mention, assistance) on how to boost human immune systems (yes, there are two). Vaccines have proven to be a rabbit trail that has never lived up to the hype. While billions of dollars (in a wide variety of currencies) have changed hands over vaccines, efficacy always seems to be over-stated and safety, if there is any, grossly under-stated. Both history and science support this, as we will see.