Injuries and Deaths Associated With the Very First Vaccines
Injuries and Deaths Associated With the Very First Vaccines

By Yuhong Dong

Deaths and injuries linked to vaccines were not only observed after the mass COVID-19 vaccination. There are records of severe adverse events since the first vaccines in human history were developed.

Deaths and Severe Injuries After Vaccination

The journey of smallpox vaccination, dating back to the late 18th century, is marred by numerous accounts of adverse effects and complications. Severe complications such as progressive vaccinia, an infection resulting from the vaccine virus itself, eczema vaccinatum, and encephalitis were rare yet grave adverse effects.

Official records from England from 1859 to 1921, as documented by J.T. Biggs in the 1912 book “Leicester: Sanitation versus Vaccination,“ reveal the disconcerting trend of vaccination-related complications that led to approximately 1,530 deaths directly attributed to the smallpox vaccine.

Notably, in the period from 1906 to 1922, the mortality rates from both smallpox and vaccination-related deaths were alarmingly similar.

The table, sourced from the Annual Returns of the Registrar-General, as recorded in Biggs’ book, was considered an indicator rather than a comprehensive record, omitting permanent or severe injuries.

Total number of smallpox vaccine-related deaths from 1859–1910. (The Epoch Times)

It is well noted in the table above that due to the enforcement of vaccination, the nomenclature of the adverse events post-vaccination was limited to “cowpox” from 1898 through 1910. The causality of the smallpox vaccine in these death cases was further strengthened by a report in 1897 referring to the 36 deaths reported for that year as directly attributed to the effects of vaccination. Furthermore, the cause of death was either clearly stated in the medical certificate or was confirmed by investigation.

Smallpox vaccine-related deaths 1859–1921 in England and Wales. (The Epoch Times)

In June 1902, Dr. W. J. J. Stewart reported that out of 587 vaccinated men at Gore Farm Lower Hospital, over 28 percent ended up on sick leave as a result of vaccination, a significant finding not publicly disclosed. These individuals received public sick pay, and contractors were compensated for their loss of services.

“Fresh vesicles subsequently formed around the vaccination pocks coalescing with them and causing them to spread. They also developed on the face, head, body, and in the mouth; the [latter] prevented the child from suckling, and it died exhausted on the 45th day after vaccination. (Case of a healthy child after vaccination, March 13, 1891.)” This child was likely to die of a progressive form of disease following the vaccination.

The vaccine’s potential to cause serious harm was further underscored by specific cases of erysipelas, a severe form of skin infection resulting in a painful and prolonged death. Instances included a 13-week-old infant succumbing to “general erysipelas after vaccination” and a 4-month-old girl dying from the same condition post-vaccination. These cases were not isolated incidents but were part of a broader pattern of severe reactions to the smallpox vaccine, likely caused by the numerous pathogens the vaccine carried that led to severe skin infections.

Eczema vaccinatum, another serious condition linked to the vaccine, presented further evidence of the risks associated with smallpox immunization. In one case, a 15-month-old boy tragically died after developing this condition following his vaccination. This was likely caused by the inflammatory cytokines in those so-called “pure lymph” or other types of smallpox vaccines.

Encephalitis following vaccination, though uncommon, often results in fatalities, particularly in babies and young children. The death rate in reported cases varies between 9 to 40 percent. Unfortunately, 10 to 25 percent of those who survive this condition suffer from lasting neurological damage.

A 2003 systematic review of the risk for serious complications and death from smallpox vaccination in the United States from 1963 to 1968 found post-vaccinial encephalitis and vaccinia necrosum had life-threatening complication rates of at least 3 per million and 1 per million primary vaccinations, respectively. The death rate was 29 percent for post-vaccinial encephalitis and 15 percent for vaccinia necrosum cases.

Similar to smallpox vaccine failures, current COVID-19 “vaccine” issues involve adverse effects that are also closely linked to the components of the vaccine, including blood clots, brain bleeds, myocarditis, pericarditis, aggressive cancers, and autoimmune diseases.

‘The Heighth of Absurdity’

In a 1900 letter to the editor of “The Medical Brief,” Dr. Harman, a medical doctor, stated that introducing cowpox poison into the bloodstream of a healthy person was not only flawed logic but risky. “It would be the heighth of absurdity” to administer medicine to a person in good health and claim to prevent a disease they did not contract, he said.

The book ”The Value of Vaccination: A Non-Partisan Review of Its History and Results“ by Dr. George William Winterburn cited the following report from the March 4, 1882, Washington National Board of Health Bulletin:

“Our town authorities have employed a physician to vaccinate all persons who present themselves for the purpose.

“The result has been fearful. Nearly everyone vaccinated has suffered from Erythema or Erysipelas, the arms swollen from shoulder to wrist, and the point of puncture [where the person was vaccinated] presenting the appearance of sloughing ulcer [a separation of dead from living tissue], discharging freely sanious pus [blood and pus]. Many of the sufferers have been confined to bed, with high fever, from five to ten days, requiring the constant application of poultices [medicated treatment] to the arm, and the free use of morphia [morphine] for the relief of pain.

“Those who have tried it tell me they would much prefer to have smallpox.”

Ladies Played a Role

Regardless of the controversies over the effectiveness and safety of the smallpox vaccines, the vaccines were forced upon healthy people anyway. The first campaign for global smallpox vaccination took place from 1803 to 1813.

Smallpox was not only the most significant cause of blindness in the population, but it also left survivors with pockmarks. These physical aftereffects were particularly significant for women, as societal norms at the time placed a high value on a woman’s appearance. Smallpox scars could seriously diminish a young woman’s prospects for marriage, which was a critical aspect of a woman’s social and economic stability during that period.

The article “Jenner’s Ladies: Women and Vaccination against Smallpox in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain” byMichael Bennett highlights the significant role played by women in making vaccination fashionable and widely accepted in the early 19th century. They sponsored and encouraged vaccination through voluntary societies and used their influence in their respective spheres to promote this new prophylactic.

For example, Mrs. Bayley of Hope Hall near Manchester made a notable contribution by vaccinating the poor and offering a monetary reward to anyone who caught smallpox after her vaccinations. In another instance, Dr. Lettsom highlighted that “ladies of rank” had vaccinated 30,000 children by the end of 1805. This is an aspect of medical history that has not been extensively studied.

(Left) A mother is waiting to have her children vaccinated as a doctor is injecting a child with a vaccine in the Victorian 19th century. (Stock illustration/Getty Images) (Right) Engraving depicting both humans and animals being vaccinated against the deadly smallpox following the pioneering work of Dr. Edward Jenner, circa 1800–1850. (Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Leicester Opposition

Although claimed to be infrequent, these complications presented a significant challenge in the widespread acceptance and administration of the vaccine.

The English government began enforcing mandated smallpox vaccination in the mid-19th century, specifically 1840 and 1853. Despite high vaccination rates, a severe smallpox epidemic struck in the small manufacturing town of Leicester and other parts of England in the early 1870s, resulting in 3,000 cases and 358 deaths in Leicester alone. This led to public skepticism about the efficacy of vaccination, as reflected in an 1884 letter published in the Leicester Mercury newspaper.

Contradictorily, the government intensified its vaccination efforts, employing officers to prosecute those refusing to vaccinate their children. Opposition to vaccination was fueled by numerous instances of severe health complications and fatalities following vaccination. One notable case involved Arthur Ward, whose two children were harmed by vaccination; he refused further vaccination for his other child and faced legal penalties. 

Despite serious health risks, the government’s unwavering support for mandatory vaccination spurred widespread revolt. Thousands protested in Leicester, drawing participants from various English countries and diverse professions. The demonstration was grand, with music, banners, and flags bearing messages championing liberty and criticizing vaccination. The procession, stretching 2 miles, received enthusiastic support from townspeople.

The scale of the protest, with attendance estimated between 80,000 to 100,000, signified a major public stance against compulsory vaccination. The event was led by Mr. Councillor Butcher of Leicester and included speeches and resolutions advocating personal liberty and parental rights. An evening meeting, attended by delegates from over 60 towns, further solidified the demonstration’s success.

Dr. Spencer T. Hall, a senior participant, expressed profound joy at the challenges to vaccination. This historical event marked a significant moment in public health, where thousands courageously opposed a prevailing medical belief and stringent government regulations, advocating for self-determination in health decisions.

70 Years of Laboratory Manipulation

According to modern vaccine quality standards, there are valid reasons to question the safety and efficacy of the smallpox vaccine, which has been highly praised for eradicating smallpox. The precise components of the smallpox vaccines remain a mystery.

The modern smallpox vaccine has gone through three generations of development. The first and second generations of the vaccine, developed between the 1950s and 1970s, used original live viruses grown on animal skin or in cell cultures. These versions carried a higher risk of severe or life-threatening side effects, including 1 to 2 fatalities per million vaccinations, 3 to 9 cases of postvaccinal encephalitis, 1 to 7 instances of progressive vaccinia, and 2 to 35 cases of eczema vaccinatum.

Because the viruses contained in the smallpox vaccine were still alive, they had to be maintained in lab animals and cell cultures. People may not be aware that modern smallpox vaccines have a complex 70-year history of passage in various laboratory animals, including rabbits, mice, goats, and cows, to make the modern attenuated smallpox vaccines.

This may be the first example in human history of the initial types of laboratory manipulation of a virus later used for vaccination.

For example, the most widely used Dryvax vaccine was from calf lymph derived from the New York City Board of Health strain. Dryvax, a vaccine licensed in the United States, is a lyophilized (freeze-dried), live-virus preparation of the infectious vaccinia virus, which was thought to play a significant role in eradicating smallpox.

Third-generation vaccines utilized attenuated strains of vaccinia and had limited usage before smallpox eradication. These vaccines have relatively milder side effects due to weakened virus strains, replacing Dryvax.

A Complex ‘Broth’ of Viruses

In the late 1990s, when researchers studied the genetic components of vaccines via advanced gene sequencing tools, they discovered that Dryvax was far more complex than initially thought. 

The study suggested that Dryvax was made up of many different viruses. The sequencing identified an evolving mutation pattern, with some genes highly fragmented and others disrupted in specific strains.

The study emphasized the significant complex nature of the Dryvax vaccine, highlighting the huge impact of human laboratory interventions on orthopoxvirus populations (viruses that cause poxvirus diseases such as smallpox, cowpox, and monkeypox).

Even modern smallpox vaccines do not contain cowpox or smallpox virus but are a hybrid human and animal agent that never existed in nature until the era of vaccination. This is similar to the story of COVID-19 and the profound impact of human research on the evolution of wild-type viruses, drawing parallels to the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers handle viruses in the laboratory P4 Jean Mérieux on February 27, 2008, in Lyon. The P4 (Pathogen Class 4) refers to pathogenic microorganisms that incur fatal risks to staff who handle them. These Class 4 agents are characterized by very high mortality rates in cases of infection, for example, smallpox. (JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP /Getty Images)

The COVID-19 virus has far more advanced gene editing technologies responsible for the origin of the SARS-CoV-2, while the smallpox vaccine used a simpler method of virus culture.

Propagating a False Narrative

The smallpox vaccine has been described as a magical medical invention. However, a closer look at the historical data reveals a more nuanced story of the disease’s prevalence and mortality, as well as the impact of the vaccine.

Nevertheless, this narrative was devised over hundreds of years. Propagating such a narrative is easier when there’s limited access to historical documentation of deaths and injuries after smallpox vaccination. This has made examining the causal relationships between the natural smallpox waves and the vaccination campaigns nearly impossible. People also tend to trust public health authorities who have made this the official narrative. We have the same problem today with the COVID-19 narrative, which has been easier to propagate with control over the media.

The smallpox vaccine timeline highlighted below reflects the evolution of the current smallpox narrative.

1796: Dr. Edward Jenner conducts his first vaccination experiment on 8-year-old James Phipps using material from cowpox lesions. This experiment formed the foundation of the smallpox vaccine narrative.

1798: Dr. Jenner publishes “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae,” detailing his findings on cowpox and its potential to prevent smallpox.

Early 1800s: Smallpox vaccination began to spread across Europe and the United States, with varying degrees of acceptance and skepticism. Influential figures and medical practitioners played a significant role in promoting vaccination.

1801: Approximately 100,000 people are vaccinated in England, reflecting the early success and acceptance of Dr. Jenner’s smallpox vaccine.

1810s to 1820s: Reports of vaccine failures and complications began to surface, leading to debates over the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

1853: The United Kingdom passed the Vaccination Act, making smallpox vaccination compulsory for every child.

1870s to 1890s: Despite high vaccination rates, several regions, including England, Prussia, Japan, and the United States, experienced severe smallpox epidemics, highlighting challenges to vaccine efficacy.

Early 1900s: The decline in smallpox cases became evident in several countries, although questions remained about the vaccine’s role in the decline versus other public health measures.

1958: Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated a global smallpox eradication program, marking a significant commitment to using vaccination to end smallpox.

1967: The WHO launched an intensified smallpox eradication program, employing a strategy of surveillance containment.

1977: The last naturally occurring case of smallpox was reported in Somalia.

1980: The WHO officially declared smallpox eradicated, making it the first disease to be eradicated by human effort.

Smallpox vaccination timeline, 1796–1980. (Illustration by The Epoch Times)

The historical records do not sufficiently distinguish between the effects of vaccination and natural declines in smallpox cases due to other reasons, as we have detailed in Part 2 of this series. The question of the vaccine’s efficacy suggests that other factors, like people’s innate immunity and improved hygiene and sanitation, played more significant roles in reducing the incidence of smallpox.

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