Once again, our country, the USA, is having a knee-jerk reaction to a new flu or viral threat. Everyone is trying to get a vaccine out rapidly for the Coronavirus that is hitting China right now. How good are we at accomplishing that? We couldn’t do much for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). SARS was also caused by a Coronavirus, but a different strain. What is the downside of achieving a fast-track vaccine? Do we use all the same safety measures? Or do we take short-cuts?
In 1976 the Swine Flu hit the United States and was first diagnosed in a soldier at Fort Dix, New Jersey. That soldier was ill but participated in a five-mile forced march and died. Thirteen other young soldiers were hospitalized. Hysteria led to the rapid development of a vaccine in a very short time period. Perhaps hysteria is too strong a word; however, what do you call it when the CDC decides immunization is the best prevention for a new Influenza A Virus threat that is similar to the flu epidemic of 1918 that killed 50 to 100 million people. Similar, but not the same.
Our CDC director at the time called for a mass immunization for all US citizens. In a very short time period of about ten weeks, forty-five million Americans or about 25% of the American population were immunized with the swine flu vaccine. Suddenly after all the immunizations it was discovered that Guillain–Barré syndrome was perhaps a risk in the vaccine takers. Our vaccine and resultant Guillain–Barré syndrome with its death outcomes from respiratory paralysis far out numbered the one soldier’s death in Fort Dix. That soldier’s death could have probably been prevented with medical care and not being forced to go on a five-mile forced march while sick.
This was a case of the government making poor decisions during an election year. We ended up with about 30 deaths as opposed to one possibly un-necessary death of a soldier at Fort Dix from the swine flu. Now let us look at today. We are again in an election year. Will politicians of today feel we are damned if we do not come up with a vaccine after the news media blows everything out of proportion, and/or damned if we do.
I am not suggesting for people not to get their immunizations. This just gives you something to think about. Ask your doctor.
God bless America. Rick Redalen, MD, Maverick Doctor
Pick up a copy of my book “God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn,” available on Amazon.
Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has done mission work around the country and the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit maverickdoctor.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.