Mass vaccination in the USSR against polio: forced, but effective

Dozens of people write to the editor every day and outraged in comments about vaccinations and safety measures regarding coronavirus. The situation was especially aggravated after the decision of the authorities to introduce vaccinations for adolescents and children.

The softest word in the comments was “genocide”, and as far as the authorities are concerned, this is at least “murderer”.

I will deliberately not enter into polemics with those who believe that “the virus does not exist,” “more dies from vaccination than without it,” “this is all a world conspiracy,” etc. This is, firstly, useless, and secondly, the facts they cite, let them remain on their own conscience. In any case, the purpose of this publication is different.

The T-shirt says “Mitsotakis put the vaccine in your ass” / At a rally of opponents of forced and generally vaccination as such in Athens / July 2021 / photo G. Melnik

Realizing that my answers are not available to everyone, I would like to give a small historical example about one vaccination that took place in 1959-1961 in the USSR.

It was in the USSR of the times of Khrushchev, a country that, by all current standards, is considered a totalitarian dictatorship. And precisely because the bulk of the writers (and even callers) come from this, our common, past.

And the publication will focus on polio.

History does not repeat itself, but loves to write spirals. Almost seventy years ago, the world was gripped by a panic of no less magnitude than the current covid one. The highly developed countries were attacked by the most dangerous disease – poliomyelitis, the mortality rate from which ranged from 10 to 20 percent. About half of those who have recovered have paralysis …

In the middle of the last century, polio was the main killer of children and the nightmare of parents around the world: in the USA, Europe, USSR, Asia, Africa. Today, people talk about him most often in connection with childhood vaccinations. Vaccination against a disease that no longer exists. More precisely – almost none.

Children with polio / Africa

“Poliomyelitis … is a highly contagious disease caused by poliovirus. It affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death in just a few hours … Poliomyelitis mainly affects children under 5 years of age … One in every 200 people infected with polio will have permanent paralysis (usually the legs). Of those paralyzed, 5–10% die with paralysis of the respiratory muscles caused by a virus … No, there is no cure for poliomyelitis. It can only be prevented through immunization. ”

There is a long and tragic story behind this short World Health Organization (WHO) reference, which you can learn from this link… I can only add that one of the most famous people who contracted polio was US President Theodore Roosevelt. That is why he was confined to a wheelchair.

Theodore Roosevelt and Stalin, February 1945. Yalta

The planet looked to doctors and scientists with the last hope in anticipation of a vaccine. The common mortal threat made political strife to be forgotten. In 1956, three Soviet researchers – the Stalin Prize laureate, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences Mikhail Chumakov, his wife and colleague, virologist Marina Voroshilova and Leningrad Academician Anatoly Smorodintsev – were sent to the United States to solve the problem together with their American colleagues.

… Soviet scientists amazed the Americans. They were waiting for the wary, spiteful and gloomy “Bolsheviks”. And a charming, lively, sincere person arrived with whom one could argue to the point of hoarseness and work until nightfall. “Professor Chumakov,” the American scientist Albert Sabin later recalled, “tried to make me a communist after many hours when we drank vodka and ate a large amount of caviar. work together, with mutual respect and friendship, to defeat a common enemy called polio. “

The Soviet delegation in the laboratory of Jonas Salk watches as he is vaccinated with the Salk vaccine. From left to right: Lev Lukin, Anatoly Smorodintsev, Marina Voroshilova, Mikhail Chumakov Photo: AP

The joint work made it possible to take as a basis the strains of Seibin’s “live vaccine”. They were brought to the USSR, funny as it may seem, in an ordinary suitcase, on a return flight from America. And in just a couple of years, a drug was created in the Soviet Union that provides people with stable immunity for life. The main thing is that under the leadership of Chumakov, at the Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitis, the drug was unusually quickly launched into industrial production, which America did not dare to do. And our officials, to put it mildly, resisted.

In the same 1956, the production of an inactivated polio vaccine (Salk vaccine, IPV) was mastered at the Institute for the Study of Poliomyelitis under the leadership of Mikhail Chumakov. And the approval for the Sabin vaccine (OPV) clinical trials posed the same problem as in the US: health officials did not believe in its safety, and besides, if there was one vaccine, why would another?

According to the testimony of Konstantin Chumakov, deputy director for science of the vaccine department of the US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), his father was able to obtain permission only after from someone else’s office, taking advantage of the temporary absence of the owner, he called the “turntable” (the phone of the Kremlin government communications) member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee Anastas Mikoyan.

Professor Anatoly Smorodintsev. Co-author of the polio vaccine, creator of vaccines against influenza, tick-borne encephalitis, measles, mumps (mumps) / Photo: V. Fedoseev / TASS

Mikoyan’s words were enough.

In January 1959, vaccination began in the regions most affected by poliomyelitis – the Lithuanian and Estonian USSR. Then it spread to the entire Soviet Union. Between January and May, between 9 million and 10 million children were vaccinated. By the end of October – 12 million 211 thousand people in 13 union republics. In Moscow, they began to produce dragee candies with a live vaccine. Until the end of 1960, the entire population under the age of 20 was vaccinated in the USSR – 77 million people. By the way, the first child in the USSR vaccinated against polio was the granddaughter of Professor Smorodintsev.

The results of mass vaccinations have been amazing. If in 1958 the incidence of poliomyelitis in the Soviet Union was 10.6 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, then already in 1967 it dropped to 0.026 cases per 100 thousand. Fall 400 times!

The success of the “Russian vaccine” was recognized all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) sent a group of respected scientists to the USSR to make sure that the Soviet leadership did not falsify vaccination reports. Scientists have confirmed that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Soviet virologist, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, founder and first director of the Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitis of the USSR Academy of Sciences Mikhail Petrovich Chumakov / Photo: Lev Porter / TASS

Choir of “anti-vaccinators”

There was, of course, no “anti-vaccine” movement at that time. Discussion was allowed only within the strict framework of the scientific community. But suppose such a fantastic option that vaccination would be carried out voluntarily – as it is now against the coronavirus. Oh, how many wonderful and varied arguments against vaccinations we would have heard!

Well, first of all, of course: the communists are experimenting with people again, they don’t have enough collective farms! .. They want to root out the Russian (Ukrainian, Latvian, Kazakh …) people.

This, so to speak, is the voice of the anti-Soviets of the old “peasant” training. But the progressive metropolitan intelligentsia, too, would not stand aside. Is it possible to produce something of high quality in the USSR? They can’t make normal toilet paper, what kind of vaccine is there …

But, having learned about the “American trace”, could, give them free rein and social networks, raise their voice and the orthodox communists. There it is, the American imperialists slipped us this potion! We are not against the vaccine, but let it be our Soviet vaccine, created by our Soviet scientists and the working class! Khrushchev bowed to the capitalists, under Stalin this would not have happened …

In the common chorus of “anti-inoculants” there would be a place for the “Jewish conspiracy”, where could it be without it? What is Seibin’s real first and last name? Yeah, Abram Saperstein, originally from Bialystok. Well, well, everything is clear. Surely a relative of Soros and Rockefeller.

At the Moscow factory named after Marat, anti-poliomyelitis dragee was produced – sweets that protected from the disease / Photo: Kaspiev Konstantin / Photo archive of the Ogonyok magazine /

And the vaccine is not real!

Many would be excited and excited by the very name – live vaccine. This also means that a weakened, but still living virus is introduced into the body, what if it gets stronger there, develops !?

And then, what kind of vaccine is this – drops, candy-dragees, which are made at Babaev’s factory? Some kind of fake. The real one is when an injection, an injection. They make a fool of our brother, they are plotting something unkind. We demand injections!

Meanwhile, it was this form of vaccine that ensured the success of mass immunization of the population. It was cheap both in production and in use. Neither skilled injecting doctors nor sterile instruments were required. Any adult could drop the vaccine into a child’s mouth, and the child himself ate the pills with pleasure.

20 thousand cases – a lot or a little?

And, of course, the most lethal argument: there is no epidemic. 20 thousand cases in the entire 200 million country, 0.01% – is this an epidemic ?! Don’t tell my slippers.

And try to explain to such people that the epidemic is not only the number of cases at the moment. First of all, this is the potential threat of the spread of the virus, which at any time can go beyond the capabilities of the health care system.

Moreover, poliomyelitis is not cured at all. The only salvation is the vaccine. In those years my mother worked as a district pediatrician in a children’s clinic on the street. Lenin (now Brivibas). On her site, several children were seriously ill with polio. Their fate was bitter: until the end of his life – in a wheelchair.

And now imagine that in 1959 this whole motley “anti-vaccine” choir thunders with millions of voices. There is no general melody, the versions vary to the exact opposite, but they all boil down to one thing: vaccinations are evil. Could the Soviet leadership in such an atmosphere have been able to implement a mass vaccination program and almost completely neutralize the threat of poliomyelitis? Hardly.

It is noteworthy that in Greece, where almost half a million people fell ill in various forms, and about 13 thousand died, there are many people who believe (and at the same time actively spread their point of view) that this virus does not exist, and all this is a worldwide deception.

Anti-Vakts rally in Athens / July 2021 / Photo by Pavel Onoyko

The conclusion is simple: democracy cannot be extended to all spheres of life. In the fight against viruses, a general vote will not help. The masses enjoy the benefits of progress, but the masses do not move progress. It is driven by a very small number of people endowed with outstanding intelligence. And the majority’s job is to select leaders who are able to find these outstanding intellectuals and help them organize their work for the common good.

PS Now these leaders are cursed, tomorrow they will be removed from office, but after years they will be remembered with warm words. Don’t believe me?

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