In 1976 it was thought an outbreak of the Swine Flu, Influenza A, subtype H1N1 at Fort Dix, New Jersey was developing. Several soldiers at Fort Dix complained of a respiratory illness diagnosed as influenza. The next month, Private David Lewis, who had the symptoms, participated in a five-mile forced march, collapses and dies. The illness caused one death, hospitalized 13, and led to a mass immunization program. The majority of typical samples tested by the N.J. Department of Health were found to be the more common A Victoria Flu Strain. Atypical samples were sent to the main CDC in Atlanta where evidence was found of the Swine Influenza A, which was similar to the great flu epidemic of 1918 which killed millions of people worldwide. This was frightening to the programs trying to develop a flu vaccine.
After the program began, the vaccine was associated with an increase in reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Guillain- Barre was known to cause paralysis, respiratory arrest, and death. The immunization program was ended after approximately 25% of the population of the United States had been administered the vaccine. This later became known as the Swine Flu debacle.
Richard Krause, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1975 to 1984, wrote the government response to the swine flu outbreak was considered too fast and the response to the AIDS epidemic too slow. The reason for the delay in addressing the AIDS epidemic was that it was considered a social disease, and everyone was concerned about offending our gay population in the USA.
The Center for Disease Control, as it was then called, verified the findings and informs both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the state of New Jersey. On February 13, CDC Director, David Sencer, completed a memo calling for mass immunization for the swine flu. The CDC Assistant Director for Programs of the Center for Disease Control, Bruce Dull, holds a press conference on February 19 to discuss the flu outbreak at Fort Dix and, in response to questions from reporters, mentions the relationship of the flu strain to the 1918 outbreak. This developed a concern that our country could develop a pandemic similar to 1918. Nearly 45 million people in the U.S.A. were immunized in over ten weeks prior to us finding out that we were killing more people with our vaccine than were going to die from this epidemic.
The US government immediately stopped the vaccination program when no swine flu cases were detected outside Fort Dix and the Guillain-Barre associated with our vaccine was found to be much more dangerous and resulted in 53 deaths. This should concern all of us when it comes to getting a vaccine for a perceived threat. In 1976 the threat never materialized, and we killed more people with our vaccine than the disease did.
Hopefully we have advanced in our production of vaccines nearly 50 years later.
God bless you all Americans, everyone. 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.