By Aaron Dykes
Expert medical pediatricians in India have criticized the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their illusory promise of polio eradication without noting the devastating side effects its vaccination regiment could inflict.
Numerous problems have surfaced from what Dr. Neetu Vashisht and Dr. Jacob Puliyel of the Department of Paediatrics at St Stephens Hospital in Delhi have termed an “unethical” advocacy that spanned more than a decade. That vaccination program, funded only through an initial series of grants, has saddled the Indian government with health program costs and exposed the public to new risk factors.
As these doctors point out in their criticism, polio while seemingly disappearing, could easily see a sudden return in weaponized form. Since its lab synthesis in 2002, its resurrection is deemed probable and perhaps imminent, thereby rendering the disease impossible to permanently eradicate and immunization efforts ineffective and costly.
But the real story is that while polio has statistically disappeared from India, there has been a huge spike in cases of non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP)– the very types of crippling problems it was hoped would disappear with polio but which have instead flourished from a new cause.
There were 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis reported in 2011, the same year India was declared “polio-free,” according to Dr. Vashisht and Dr. Puliyel. Further, the available data shows that the incidents tracked back to areas were doses of the polio vaccine were frequently administered. The national rate of NPAFP in India is 25-35 times the international average.
So did polio vaccines trigger these new cases of paralysis? Related studies in India have already demonstrated that polio vaccines are the leading cause of polio paralysis. Yet the 100-180 cases of paralysis per year in India admittedly linked directly to receiving the polio-vaccine, the recognized development of vaccine-associated polio paralysis (VAPP), pales in comparison to the 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis.
Further, polio vaccines have been widely blamed for deaths and damages in the neighboring country Pakistan. A government inquiry there confirmed the effects of the polio vaccine, funded under a GAVI program. Its investigation revealed that the GAVI alliance was recommending untested vaccines, and asked that all GAVI-recommended vaccines be suspended until testing showed their safety and efficacy.
Whatever the links in this area, research does confirm that the paralysis rate increased in correlation with vaccine doses administered:
While data from India’s National Polio Surveillance Project showed NPAFP rate increased in proportion to the number of polio vaccine doses received, independent studies showed that children identified with NPAFP “were at more than twice the risk of dying than those with wild polio infection.”
While the human costs are the starkest reminder that bad policy in philanthrophy and government alike can damage lives, the economic toll of the vaccination program has also reflected badly on the involvement by the World Health Organization and Gates Foundation, both core partners of GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), which also boasts the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank and United Nations as partners.
Their recommendations to achieve total vaccine saturation of populations in poorer countries are obscene, if only on the basis of cost alone.
These doctors rightly blast the unethical dilemma Indians face after being advised to make the vaccination campaign a top priority and committing the government into sinking $2.5 billion in expenditures over the span of the program. Yet, the polio campaign was initially funded by only a $2 million dollar grant and its hopeful-sounding mission. “The Indian government finally had to fund this hugely expensive programme, which cost the country 100 times more than the value of the initial grant,” their report stated.
“From India’s perspective the exercise has been an extremely costly both in terms of human suffering and in monetary terms. It is tempting to speculate what could have been achieved if the $2.5 billion spent on attempting to eradicate polio, were spent on water and sanitation and routine immunization.”
According to the doctors’ analysis, “the polio eradication programme epitomizes nearly everything that is wrong with donor funded ‘disease specific’ vertical projects at the cost of investments in community-oriented primary health care (horizontal programmes),” also stating, “This is a startling reminder of how initial funding and grants from abroad distort local priorities.”
This kind of unethical partnership between the WHO and private entities is reminiscent of the corruption we saw in the H1N1 Swine Flu Scare where the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, later admittedly elevated on flimsy pretenses to create demand for the vaccine. This was exposed by Council of Europe Health Committee Chairman Wolfgang Wodarg who demonstrated that drug firms collaborated with WHO officials to deliberately create a “campaign of panic” and a ‘false disaster’ over swine flu pandemic fears not proportionate to the real dangers.