The smallpox pandemic response was eerily similar to COVID
There is much to learn from how it was ended and who ended it
If you would like to know more about me, the mission of this substack, or how you can contribute, please read this introductory post.
Note: The second part of this article (a more detailed summary of early observations of the effects of the vaccines by holistic doctors of the time) can be found here. A French translation of this article provided by a reader can be found here. An abridged version of this article can be found at:
In late Dec 2019, I predicted almost everything that has happened so far with COVID-19, which put me at odds with most of my physician colleagues. I was able to do so because I was familiar with history and saw many the signs our past mistakes would repeat themselves (for example, The Real Anthony Fauci details how the HIV epidemic was a blueprint for the management of COVID).
What is occurring now in Canada and other places is almost identical to what happened with the smallpox vaccination campaigns over a century ago, and I believe it is critical we understand these lessons from the past and it is vital this message gets out to the Truckers. If you have any way to get this message to them, PLEASE do.
Briefly, the original smallpox vaccine was an unusually harmful vaccination that was never tested before being adopted. It increased, rather than decreased smallpox outbreaks. As the danger and inefficacy became known, increasing public protest developed towards vaccination. Yet, as smallpox increased, governments around the world instead adopted more draconian mandatory vaccination policies. Eventually, one of the largest protests of the century occurred in 1885 in Leicester (an English city). Leicester‘s government was replaced, mandatory vaccination abolished, and public health measures rejected by the medical community were implemented. These measures were highly successful, and once adopted globally ended the smallpox epidemic, something most erroneously believe arose from vaccination.
This article is broken into the following sections:
-History of Smallpox Vaccination
-Skepticism and Rejection of Smallpox Vaccination
-Mandatory Smallpox Vaccination
-Effects of Mandatory Smallpox Vaccination
-Smallpox Vaccine Injuries
-Historic 1885 Public Protest
-The Leicester Model
-History Repeats in the Present Day
As the kidneys are so susceptible to pharmaceutical injuries, nephrology is the one specialty in medicine where no one will question a doctor terminating a medication. In 2009, Suzanne Humphries M.D., a nephrologist noticed a concerning pattern of influenza vaccinations immediately preceding kidney injury or kidney failure where no other cause could be identified. Most hospitals have standing orders to ensure all admissions are vaccinated (due to financial reimbursements for immunization), and she challenged this practice in her kidney patients. While much of the staff agreed (having also witnessed the kidney damage), to her surprise, for the first time in her career, her professional opinion on kidney failure was ignored, the administration refused her request and she was harassed until she left.
She encountered many of the same denials of reality we face now when discussing COVID-19 immunizations. The most common response to her concerns was “how can you oppose the influenza vaccinations; do you not realize how much the polio and smallpox vaccines did for the world?” At some point, Dr. Humphries realized that she needed to investigate these claims for herself. Upon initially attempting to evaluate the efficacy of the smallpox vaccination campaigns, she discovered the data was not available. This eventually led her to investigate the archives of some of the oldest libraries in the country, where she discovered, a very different picture of the time emerged.
To a large extent, the mythology of modern medicine is built upon vaccination bringing us out of the dark ages of plagues and infectious diseases, and as a result, there is a vested interest to protect that mythology at all costs. As such, I believe Dr. Humphries chose an excellent title, and that she and the other authors through this work provided an immense contribution to the medical field. What follows is primarily excerpted from Dissolving Illusions (available as both a book and audiobook). For brevity, citations and references can be found there. A brief book from 1889 providing evidence covering many of the same points can be viewed online here.
History of Smallpox Vaccination
When the industrial revolution began, large numbers of serfs (economic slaves) moved from the countryside to the cities to serve as the new work force. In these early cities, they lived in conditions of absolute squalor that in our modern age are difficult for most to even conceive of (which may have been partially due to the recent adoption of Thomas Malthus’s ideas on the need for population control by the European aristocracy).
As a result of these dangerous living conditions, plagues and infectious disease were commonplace. Early progressives in turn argued that improving deadly living conditions through early public hygiene programs and lessening the capitalist exploitation of the working class (by say giving humane hours or not forcing children 5 years of age to do backbreaking labor all day long) was the key to public health. There were many battles on this subject, which the activists of the time eventually won as public sentiment turned against the horrific effects of the smallpox vaccination, banishing these deadly diseases to the past.
Scarlet fever for example, killed many more people than smallpox, its decline perfectly mirrored smallpox, and few are even aware this disease previously was a horrendous plague (likely because no vaccine was ever made for it). Tuberculosis, the most deadly infectious disease the era likewise experienced a steep decline that began in the late 1700s, while the first vaccine for it was created in 1928.
England and Wales smallpox and scarlet fever mortality rates from 1838 to 1922.
Modern medicine snuck in and successfully claimed credit for these changes, attributing them to vaccines, despite the data showing the opposite and vaccines not existing for most of the diseases. Dissolving Illusions provides the data and graphs that demonstrate there is a much stronger hypothesis to explain the decline of these infectious diseases.
An early practice to mitigate smallpox involved the intentional transmission of smallpox from one person to another (variolation), which was endorsed by some, and rejected by others as it was often viewed to be both dangerous and likely to worsen rather than improve outbreaks. For example, a 1764 article assessing the effects of variolation after 38 years of implementation found it had increased smallpox cases by 41% and smallpox deaths by 27%. As the hypodermic needle had not yet been invented, inoculation was achieved by rubbing an open wound on the arm with infected material. Folk rumors that exposure to cowpox appeared to protect milkmaids from smallpox also existed and physicians had attempting inoculation of cowpox (rather smallpox variolation) as a means of smallpox prevention.
On May 14, 1796, the physician Edward Jenner took disease matter from the hand of a milkmaid he believed had cowpox and inoculated an 8-year-old boy with it, then in July, inoculated the boy with smallpox, and after the child did not catch smallpox from the inoculation, declared that his vaccine would be 100% effective for life (later saying every 10 years and eventually it would last for a year). As no controlled experiments were done to study this practice, immunity was judged by the belief the presence of a vaccine scar would guarantee immunity, and even now, the CDC admits the level of antibody necessary to prevent smallpox infection is unknown. Additionally, studies of the vaccines with modern technology have found they contained a wide variety of viral species (widespread contamination and poor-quality control was also observed during the initial smallpox vaccination campaigns), and a debate as to the exact biological origination of the vaccine exists to this day.
Skepticism and Rejection of Smallpox Vaccination
Initially Jenner’s claims (first published in 1798) were met with much skepticism, as many physicians had observed patients develop cowpox and subsequently smallpox, and others questioned the basic validity of his studies (one physician who tested 3 children with Jenner’s vaccine found all 3 subsequently developed smallpox after inoculation, with similar results obtained by other physicians). Nonetheless, the practice gradually caught on, became a larger share of physician income, became more and more popular within the medical field, and over the next hundred years, the number of dissenting physicians gradually diminished. However, what is relatively unknown now is that many did speak out, and published literature with data showing serious issues with the vaccine.
Some examples are as follows:
Dr. Woodville, in 1799, after having administered the vaccination to many children stated, “…in several instances, the cowpox has proved a very severe disease. In three or four cases out of 500, the patient has been in considerable danger, and one child actually died.”
In 1809, the medical observer reported on over a dozen cases of often fatal smallpox contracted after vaccination (frequently occurring a year after vaccination), while the 1810 medical observer contained 535 cases of smallpox after vaccination (97 that were fatal), and 150 cases of severe vaccine injuries.
An 1817 London Medical Repository Monthly Journal and Review likewise found that many people who received the smallpox vaccination were still experiencing smallpox.
In 1818, Thomas Brown, a surgeon of 30 years and ardent proponent of vaccination, after vaccinating 1200 people stated: “The accounts from all quarters of the world, wherever vaccination has been introduced… the cases of failures are now increased to an alarming proportion.”
In 1829, the Lancet describing a recent outbreak stated “It attacked many who had had small-pox before, and often severely; almost to death; and of those who had been vaccinated, it left some alone, but fell upon great numbers.”
In 1845 George Greogory M.D. reported: “In the 1844 smallpox epidemic, about one-third of the vaccinated contracted a mild form of smallpox, but roughly 8 percent of those vaccinated still died, and nearly two-thirds had severe disease”.
Because of the genuine concerns against the immunizations, widespread resistance existed in the public towards the immunization practices. As the press was less censored at this time, there were frequent reports of deaths from smallpox in properly vaccinated citizens, as well as deaths from other conditions after vaccination.
In 1829, William Cobbett, a farmer, journalist, and English pamphleteer, wrote, in addressing the failures of vaccination: “Why, that in hundreds of instances, persons cow-poxed by JENNER HIMSELF [William Cobbett’s capital emphasis], have taken the real small-pox afterwards, and have either died from the disorder, or narrowly escaped with their lives!”
A 1850 letter to the “Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, ” claimed there were more admissions to the London Small-Pox Hospital in 1844 than during the smallpox epidemic of 1781 before vaccination began, and that one-third of the deaths from smallpox were in people who had previously been vaccinated.
Mandatory Smallpox Vaccination
As it became clear that the smallpox vaccine was unable to prevent disease as initially promised, the medical profession moved the goal posts from lifelong “perfect” immunity to “milder disease” to justify vaccination, a tactic that has since repeated with other vaccination campaigns.
Mr. Henry May, writing to the Birmingham Medical Review, in January, 1874 reported that deaths as a result of vaccination were often not reported because of an allegiance to the practice. Often a vaccinated person was recorded as having died from another condition such as chicken pox or erroneously listed as unvaccinated.
This corruption of the vital statistics creates many challenges in assessing the efficacy of immunization, and is also why many authors argue no metric can be used to assess COVID-19 immunizations except total number of deaths (independent of cause) as this cannot be fudged. Of note, a different significant overlap exists with the early Polio campaigns (also detailed within the book), where “Polio” diagnostic criteria was repeatedly adjusted to meet the political need for Polio cases.
Governments responded to this skepticism by progressively using more and more force to mandate vaccination. Vaccination was made compulsory in England in 1853, with stricter laws passed in 1867. In the United States, Massachusetts created a set of comprehensive vaccination laws in 1855 (which created the Supreme Court case Jacobson v. Massachusetts a case that is frequently cited about state enforced vaccination). Lemuel Shattuck emphasized the need for vaccination and pushed for house-to-house vaccination to be enforced by the authority of the City of Boston in an 1856 report, also noting ““The City has already provided that no unvaccinated child shall be admitted into the public schools.”
A situation emerged I term the vaccine positive feedback cycle. Keep in mind that most systems in nature are instead negative feedback systems. In these, when something occurs, it self-corrects the system and turns it off rather than accelerating it, as occurs in a positive feedback system.
The cycle is as follows:
A concerning disease exists
Immunization is cited as a potential solution to the problem
A preliminary immunization campaign is conducted and makes the problem worse
As the problem is now worse, the need for immunizations to address it increases and another campaign is conducted
This makes the problem worse
This increases the need for more aggressive measures to increase immunization
This makes the problem worse and further perpetuates the cycle, before long leading to very questionable governmental policies designed to force unwilling parties to vaccinate.
The underlying drivers of this process seem to be an unquestionable faith in vaccination, a conviction dating back to the days of smallpox, that vaccinating an ever increasing proportion of the population through vaccination can end epidemics (now termed herd immunity), and the government having limited options to address the issue besides immunizations and governmental force.
Effects of Mandatory Smallpox Vaccination
In accordance the positive feedback cycle, these results were found everywhere. Within the United States, as smallpox worsened in Boston, in 1855, the government enacted strict enforcement of vaccination. It was followed by the epidemics of 1859-1860, 1864-1865, 1867 (these were all similar in size to earlier epidemics), and then infamous 1872-1873 epidemic which dwarfed all previous epidemics (proving fatal to 1040 persons, at a rate of 280 deaths per 100,000 people).
By the end of 1868, more than 95 percent of the inhabitants of Chicago had been vaccinated. After the Great Fire of 1871 (it leveled the city), strict vaccine laws were passed, and vaccination was made a condition of receiving relief supplies. Chicago was then hit with a devastating smallpox epidemic in 1872 where over 2000 persons contracted smallpox, with over 25% dying, and the fatality rate among children under 5 being the highest ever recorded.
A 1900 medical article discussed vaccination in 3 European nations. In England, of 9392 small-pox patients in London hospitals, 6854 had been vaccinated and 17.5% of the 9392 died. In Germany “official returns show that between 1870 and 1885 one million vaccinated persons died from small-pox.” In France, “every recruit that enters the French army is vaccinated. During the Franco-Prussian war there were 23,469 cases of small-pox in that army.”
An 1888 article in the Encyclopedia Britannica describing Prussia’s strict vaccination practices throughout the population (including mandatory re-vaccination for school pupils), noted ““Notwithstanding the fact that Prussia was the best revaccinated (boosted) country in Europe, its mortality from smallpox in the epidemic of 1871 was higher (59,839) than in any other northern state.”
In 1899, Dr. Ruata in Italy reported: ““Among the great number of little epidemics which produced the 18,110 deaths mentioned” noting this death rate was unprecedented, and that he had verified from the local health authorities that the villages where these outbreaks occurred “vaccination has been performed twice a year in the most satisfactory manner for many years past.”
Japan also encountered similar issues, where compulsory vaccination became law in 1872 (for example at least 1 vaccination within a year of birth was made mandatory), and in 1885, the law was strengthened to require compulsory vaccination every 5 to 7 years. From 1885 to 1892 there were more than 25,000,000 recorded vaccinations and revaccinations, yet they had 156,175 cases of smallpox and 39,979 deaths. From 1892 to 1897, there were 142,032 cases of smallpox and 39,536 deaths. An 1896 act made re-vaccination every 5 years mandatory for all citizens regardless of their situation, and in the next year in 1897, they had 41,946 cases of smallpox and 12,276 deaths, a mortality rate of 32 per cent, nearly twice that from smallpox previous to the vaccination period.”
Smallpox Vaccine Injuries
While official medical pronouncements always heralded vaccination as a very safe procedure done with “pure lymph,” this view was not universal (and as detailed above, disproved with analysis of the vaccinations). The early Osteopaths and Homeopaths (and others) repeatedly detailed the significant novel acute and chronic illness created by smallpox vaccination and believed it was not the correct way to approach medicine. Interestingly, many of the symptoms they reported are now recognized as signs of complications of a hyper-coagulable state in the blood, a trait that appears to be shared with the COVID-19 vaccinations and can be triggered by viremia. These early holistic physicians regularly spoke out against the practice of vaccination and particularly mandatory vaccination (for example this is repeatedly discussed in the final summative medical text written by AT Still, the founder of Osteopathy). These early observations are the subject of my next more detailed article.
On a population level, vaccine injuries were common. As detailed within graph 4.3 from Dissolving Illusions, within England and Wales, from 1859 to 1921 (likely underreported) deaths from cowpox and other effects of vaccination were similar to reported smallpox deaths.
One of the most common deaths following vaccination was erysipelas, a particularly prolonged and painful way to die. There were many reports in the press and other publications of this occurring, and in an 1890 Encylopedia Britannica Article, it noted that in hospitals such as St. Petersburg, the erysipelas of vaccination has been the starting point of disastrous epidemics of erysipelas for other patients in those hospitals.
Other less severe side effects such as frequent jaundice were also reported in the medical literature. For example in 1884 vaccination campaign of 1289 workman at a naval shipyard, 191 had jaundice. The transfer of infectious agents such as Syphillis or Tuberculosis through vaccination was also reported. A 1958 study detailed 9 cases of eczema vaccinatum, a very rare and lethal skin condition, following vaccination, of which 2 died, with the authors noting most cases of this condition are likely not reported (in a separate 1970 study, the authors noted that in 7 cases of death clearly attributable to vaccination, only 3 listed vaccination on the death certificate).
Historic 1885 Public Protest
As widespread skepticism of the vaccination increased, enforcement increased, with no legal recourse available to opt out of the immunization regardless of the situation or physician recommendation. Across the world, more and more vaccination resistors were fined, jailed or forcefully vaccinated; parents constituted many of these “offenders,” often opting to receive these punishment in order to spare their children from the severe injuries that followed vaccination and many of these sad cases were documented in Dissolving Illusions.
Assaults on officers enforcing vaccination occurred, and riots periodically broke out. This quote 1874 quote from Emeritus Professor F. W. Newman encapsulates the mood of the time: “Decorous and admissible language fails me, in alluding to that which might have seemed incredible thirty years ago—the commanding of vaccination on a second child of a family, when vaccination has killed the first; and then sending the father to prison for refusal.” Many reports of the horrific enforcement of these mandates and the resistance against them within the United States can be found in Chapters 8 and 9 of Dissolving Illusions. However, the most notable story occurred within England.
The manufacturing town of Leicester was subject to the England’s 1840 law requiring immunization, and the 1859 law requiring every child to be vaccinated within 3 months of birth. As refusal to vaccinate was punishable by fines or imprisonment or both, many vaccine refusers agreed to vaccinate. In spite of their high vaccination rates, a 1871-1872 smallpox epidemic occurred, with 3000 cases happening, of which 358 died, leading to growing skepticism of vaccination, and increasing enforcement of the vaccination mandates. In 1869, 2 criminal prosecutions occurred against vaccine refusers, while 1100 occurred in 1881 (a total of 6000 occurred during this period of prosecutions, with 64 imprisonments and 193 seizures of property being enacted against those too poor to pay the fines).
In 1884, 5000 court summons had been issued against the unvaccinated, a case load that completely overloaded the court system. Letters in local newspaper at this time revealed widespread disdain for the irrationality of the procedure and the medical profession’s steadfast defense of a dangerous practice that had clearly failed over the last 80 years.
Tensions reached a boiling point and on March 23, 1885, a large protest estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 people erupted. It was composed of citizens of all professions from across England and received support from citizens across Europe who could not attend it. The procession was two miles long, with displays showing the popular sentiments against vaccination present throughout the crowd. The demonstration was successful, and the local government acceded to and acknowledged their demands for liberty.
The Leicester Model
Mr. Councilor Butcher of Leicester addressed the protest and spoke of the growing opinion that the best way to get rid of smallpox and deadly infectious diseases was to use plenty of water, eat good food, live in light and airy houses, while it was the municipality’s duty to keep the streets clean and the sewers in order. He emphasized that if this was not done, it was unlikely any act of Parliament or vaccination could prevent the diseases.
That year, following the protest, the government was replaced, mandates were terminated, and by 1887 vaccination coverage rates had dropped to 10%. To replace the vaccination model, the Leicester activists proposed a system of immediately quarantining smallpox patients, disinfection of their homes and quarantining of their contacts alongside improving public sanitation.
The medical community vehemently rejected this model, and zealously predicted Leicester’s “gigantic experiment” would soon result in a terrible “massacre,” especially in the unprotected children, who were viewed by government physicians as “bags of gunpowder” that could easily blow-up schools (along with much other hateful and hyperbolic rhetoric directed at them). This smallpox apocalypse would forever serve as a lesson against vaccine refusal the medical profession bet their stake upon.
As the predicted catastrophe failed to emerge and Leicester had dramatically lower rates of smallpox than other fully vaccinated towns (ranging from 1/2 to 1/32). Various rationalizations were put forward to explain this, but as the decades went by, a gradual public acceptance of Leicester’s methods emerged, but even 30 years later, a New York Times article still predicted a disaster was right around the corner and it was imperative Leicester change their methods. Fortunately, the value of Leicester’s novel approach of quarantining and improvement public hygiene was recognized and gradually adopted around the world, leading to the eventual eradication of smallpox. As smallpox typically requires 6-7 days of close contact for transmission, it seems plausible a quarantine approach could be the primary approach responsible for smallpox eradication.
History Repeats in The Present Day
Once COVID-19 arrived in the USA, it was predicted by the medical field, that similar to previous respiratory diseases, there would be 3 peaks of the epidemic after which it would disappear. For this reason, a rush to develop vaccinations before the epidemic disappeared initiated, leading many to suspect serious contamination issues would occur in the immunizations as quality control was sacrificed for speed.
From studying the vaccinations, myself and other physicians felt that if the vaccines were distributed on a large scale to the population, they would worsen and prolong the epidemic as they would prevent natural herd immunity from occurring.
As there was a high potential for toxicity from the vaccination, it seemed inevitable that progressively more draconian government mandates would be passed to counter widespread public resistance so they could reach the unreachable herd immunity threshold. Sadly, while the medical profession should have been expected to step up and address these serious concerns, the majority succumbed to self-interest, and critics of the adopted program, citing easily available data, were in the minority.
A few years ago, a prediction like this would have been unthinkable, unless you know the history of immunization. Like the smallpox vaccination campaigns, the COVID immunization campaign has been so egregious that it has inspired a large global protest movement, with the large scale current protests being very similar to those that occurred 135 years ago. My hope is that this movement can remember the lessons from the past and carry them forward to the present so future generations do not have to repeat these mistakes.
As a final note to draw the historical parallels, after 9/11, as a precaution against future bioterrorism, the military engaged in a smallpox vaccine campaign which subsequently caused a variety of political issues after heart inflammation and heart attacks were noticed as a side effect from the vaccination leading the CDC to initially recommend those with cardiac issues be excluding from the campaign.
You have my full permission and encouragement to share this with anyone who can get the message out. I did not do the most of the work to compile this story and I don't want credit for it. I just want the message to get out so we can move towards a better practice of medicine. Lastly, I am continuing to make minor changes on this as they have been pointed out to me and I thank you for any feedback to improve this.
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