The Persistent Question of Vaccination | Part 2
Part 2 of 3
Sussanna Czeranko, ND
By the beginning of the 20th century, in response to the accumulating data about the danger of vaccinations, doctors from around the world and from different medical disciplines had established ‘Anti-Vaccination Societies and Leagues’ which would meet to discuss the evils of compulsory vaccination programs upon innocent school children. Their primary objective was to uphold “the universal acceptance of … the principle that health is Nature’s greatest safeguard against disease, and that, therefore, no State has the right to demand of anyone the impairment of his or her health.” (Anti-Vaccination League of America, 1910, p. 549)
One unsuspecting doctor to come to the foreground in the anti-vaccination front was an orthodox physician in high standing, Dr. Charles Creighton. He was asked to prepare an article on ‘Vaccination’ for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Nichols reports that “his special study of the subject revolutionized his faith and forced him to write against the practice [a 15 column article] he was expected to champion.” (Nichols, 1909, p. 544). “On the strength of Dr. Creighton’s article in the Britannica, Prof. Edgar Crookshank, an eminent biologist … devoted two years to the study of the pathology of cowpox and its history and its relation to vaccination. The result of his researches caused him to renounce his faith in vaccination” and to write a 2 volume entitled “History and Pathology of Vaccination”.
Doctors like Creighton argued that vaccination was “in direct controversion of the basic principles of aseptic surgery, the legitimate aim of which [was] to remove from the organism the products of disease, [and] never to introduce them.” (Lust, 1911, p. 449) In England, records revealed 25,000 deaths of children from diseases of vaccination to occur annually in 1878. (Nichols, 1909)
The Outrage of Compulsory Vaccinations
In America, the outrage of compulsory vaccinations mobilized the doctors opposed to them with an outpouring of publications and organizations. In the main naturopathic publication, Health Herald and Naturopath, articles on vaccinations began to appear in 1909; however, it was not until the following year that considerable space dominated the journal with alarming stories of the newly arrived vaccination menace. Articles reflected the anger and torment that the naturopaths felt. From 1910 to 1912, naturopaths voiced their fury of the atrocities of vaccinations without mincing words. These 3 years reached a pinnacle for galvanizing the naturopathic profession in solidarity. Their mission was simple: to promulgate the facts of medical oppression and monopoly.
Legislation was imposed to force people to be vaccinated and an outcry from the public and from the naturopathic community and some medical doctors against vaccination fermented. Headlines in opposition to the vaccination laws would demonstrate the dangers of the vaccines with the number of deaths and mutations. As well, the growing awareness of the financial interests of the doctors who advocated for the mass vaccination was questioned.
Nevertheless, many states, beginning as early as the mid-19th century, chose to impose forced vaccination punishable by stiff prison sentences and hefty fines against parents who refused to vaccinate their children.
The first compulsory vaccination law was passed by Massachusetts in 1855. It required that every infant must be vaccinated before reaching the age of two years; that no child should be admitted to any public school unless vaccinated; that all inmates of public institutions must be vaccinated; that the employees of all manufacturing corporations must be vaccinated as a prerequisite to employment and to cap the climax, everyone must be vaccinated every five years. What was the result? In the 20 years following the enactment of this law there were 4221 deaths from smallpox in Massachusetts. (Nunn, 1924)
In North Dakota, prior to 1919, the health codes outlined that “each parent or guardian having the care, custody or control of any minor or other person shall cause such minor or other person to be vaccinated.” [Anderson, 1929, p.5] In fact, anyone defying “any provision of the health laws [was] punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, or both. (Revised Codes, 1905).” [Anderson, 1929, p.5] In 1919, though, the compulsory law was abolished in that state. The same abolition occurred in 1918 in Arizona by a referendum which repealed similar laws.
The California Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League Wins
In California, the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League was organized in 1904 and this group succeeded in having the laws repealed the following year. This early success, however, was quickly reversed when the governor, a medical doctor by profession, Dr. Pardee, vetoed the appeal. Once again, children were forced to be vaccinated or to leave school. This pattern of partisan lobbying and political machinations by the highly organized allopathic profession persists to the present day. In response, a group of committed parents founded the first “anti-vaccination school” on August 7, 1905. Ironically, only 2 years later the public school board “realizing that they had lost some 400 pupils” and were experiencing the associated financial losses, decided to accept the disability certificates and allow the unvaccinated children to attend public school. It took until 1921 for California to completely abolish the requirement of children forced to be vaccinated in order to attend school. Dr. Hodge argues “vaccination became a question of public policy when the first laws for its enforcement were enacted, and so long as people are taxed to support it, they have the common right of investigation.” (Hodge, 1910, p. 467)
The First Law of Immunity from Epidemics is Absolute Cleanliness
Peebles (1913) and Hodge (1911) maintain that “smallpox increased with the increase of vaccination and decreased because of improved sanitation, cleanliness and hygienic living. Sanitary measures and not vaccinations had profound effects in curbing smallpox. In every community where vaccination ceases, and instead, strict sanitation is accomplished, the disease smallpox disappears – there are no exceptions.” (Nichols, 1909, p. 544)
Leicester, England became synonymous with the anti-vaccinationists’ fight for medical liberty. By 1871, 95% of the births of Leicester were officially recorded as having been satisfactorily vaccinated. At this time, at the height of its good vaccination record, Leicester was rudely attacked by an epidemic of smallpox with extreme severity that undermined the people’s faith in the protective vaccinations. The poor and the rich alike refused vaccinations for their children and themselves and by 1890, 95% of the births were unvaccinated. “The Leicester method of dealing with smallpox [was] notification, isolation, quarantine, disinfection and sanitation. During the 1903 and 1904 smallpox epidemic, there were 80,000 unvaccinated school children and the smallpox cases numbered 321 and there were 4 deaths. By 1911, Leicester was a bustling manufacturing town of 250,000 people and had the smallest mortality rate attributed to smallpox in the world. (Hodge, 1911, pg. 26-7)
Vaccination in Other Countries
Many contemporary observers view the statistics of the past century or so and conclude that better sanitation had been responsible for the decline in infectious diseases generally. But in 1880, the Registrar General in England had already come to the same conclusion.
Countries such as Holland and Australia repudiated compulsory vaccination because of the record of serious illness following vaccination. In Holland the data showed that “in 1923 and following years, cases of encephalitis after vaccination occurred”. The Dutch government with a view to the present danger of causing encephalitis after vaccination, suspended vaccination for a year until the cause of the complication could be discovered.
“When a vaccinated person contracts smallpox, the doctors say that he was not vaccinated successfully or not recently enough or not prior to exposure, or they reassure and console him by telling him that he would have had a [worse] or perhaps a fatal case.” (Gray, 1912, p. 382)
The White Plague
The relationship between vaccination and tuberculosis has also been linked. “Pathologists of worldwide renown have expressed the suspicion that so-called ‘pure calf-lymph’ may be a prolific source of the tuberculosis which has [been] so affrightingly on the increase in all jennerized countries.” (Hodge, 1910, p. 76) In countries, such as Germany, England and France prior to strict compulsory vaccination enforcements, “tuberculosis was practically unknown. After “the introduction of vaccination, the ‘great white plague’ [was] a veritable scourge.” (Hodge, 1910, p. 76) Consumption prior to the introduction of the calf lymph serums would manifest late in life between 50 and 75 years of age and could last as long as 25 years before the patient would succumb to the disease. After vaccination, tuberculosis affected younger people including children; its course was rapid and ‘galloping’ and often fatal. (Andersen, 1910), p.418-423)
The Pecuniary Side of Vaccination
In the early 20th century, Hodge was outraged by his colleagues who chose to engage in vaccination practice and attributed their ‘cow-poxing business’ as purely pecuniary. The financial profits “act as a powerful motive in shaping their opinions and practice.” (Hodge, 1910, p. 465) Over 20 million dollars had been invested in the serum manufacturing businesses which needed to be secured by compulsory use on workers, their children and even the livestock that people would eat. (Lust, 1911, p. 435)
In order to secure their livelihood from vaccination, doctors sought devious means to gain the favor of their politicians. As sanitation improved and smallpox epidemics showed a decline, doctors did everything they could to secure their vaccination practice by their political lobbying. In 1908 in New York State, approximately 45% of the state population had been vaccinated against smallpox. The reported smallpox cases numbered 866 with only 3 deaths. (Lust, 1910, p. 481) The doctors wanting to raise the percent of vaccinated citizens mobilized around the contentious issue by getting organized in their state medical societies. Doctors encouraged other doctors to get to know the senators and representatives in their state.
Dr. Sussanna Czeranko, ND, BBE, is a licensed naturopath in Ontario and Oregon. She is currently a faculty member in the Advancement Department at NCNM conducting historical research in its rare books room. She is applying these studies to the creation and delivery of an ongoing curriculum centered on nature cure, including balneotherapy and Buteyko, a Russian breathing therapy.
Anderson, H. B., (1929), The Facts Against Compulsory Vaccination, Citizens Medical Reference Bureau, New York.
Anti-Vaccination League of America, (1910), Constitution, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XV, #9, pg. 549-550.
Hodge, J. W., (1910), Tuberculosis and Vaccination, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XV, #2, pg. 75-7.
Hodge, J. W., (1910), Vaccination Villainous – It’s Compulsion a Crime, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XV, #8, pg. 465-7.
Hodge, J. W., (1911), In Opposing Vaccination, ‘Life’ is Right, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XVI, #7, pg. 441-2.
Lust, B., (1910), Observations in Treating Diphtheria according to the Methods of Father Kneipp, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XV, #7, pg. 390-8.
Lust, B., (1911), Resolutions on vaccination, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XVI, #7, p. 435.
Lust, B., (1911), A Doctor’s Reasons for Opposing Vaccination, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XVI, #7, p. 449.
Nichols, C. F., (1909), The Outrage Vaccination, The Arraignment of Vaccination by Eminent Men, and by Medical Specialists, Herald of Health and Naturopath, Benedict Lust Publisher, New York, Vol. XIV, #9, pg 544-8.
Nunn, Henry D., Massachusetts Abolished Compulsory Vaccination of Infants in 1908, Boston Post, January 22, 1924.
Peebles, J. M., (1913), Vaccination, a Curse, and a Menace to Personal Liberty with Statistics Showing its Dangers and Criminality, Peebles Publishing Company, Los Angeles. This book was first published in 1900 and the 1913 edition was the tenth edition of Dr. Peebles’s book.
Pitcairn, John, (1907), Vaccination, Anti-Vaccination League of Pennsylvania. John Pitcairn [1841-1916] founded the Anti-Vaccination League in 1909 and for his remaining life he was the guiding spirit of this movement.