More than any other, the polio vaccine is pointed to with pride by every government as definitive proof that mass vaccination pro-grammes work. The US government is quick to note that during the plague years of polio, 20,000-30,000 cases per year occurred in America, compared to 20-30 cases a year today. Nevertheless, Dr. Bernard Greenberg, head of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health, has gone on record to say that cases of polio increased by 50 per cent between 1957 and 1958, and by 80 per cent from 1958 to 1959, after the introduction of mass immunization." In five New England States - Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont - cases of polio roughly doubled in 1954 and 1955, after the polio vaccine was introduced. Never¬theless, in the midst of the polio panic of the 1950s, with the pres¬sure on to find a magic bullet, statistics were manipulated by health authorities to give the opposite impression.

One such way was to give the old disease a new name - 'viral or aseptic meningitis' or 'cocksackie virus'. According to statistics from the Los Angeles County Health Index, for instance, in July 1955 there were 273 reported cases of polio and 50 cases of asep¬tic meningitis, compared with five cases of polio and 256 cases of aseptic meningitis a decade later."

In the early part of this century, over 3,000 deaths were attributed to 'chickenpox', and only some 500 to smallpox, even though authorities agree that chickenpox is only very rarely a fatal disease."

Diseases such as polio operate cyclically. The great polio epidemics occurred in the 1910s, the 1930s and the 1950s; then cases sharply dropped off down to nearly zero. But at the height of the fifties epi-demics, after the vaccine was introduced, as author Welene James says, quoting another writer, 'the vaccine took the credit instead of nature. American medical critic Dr. Robert Mendelssohn once noted: 'Diseases are like fashion, they come and go.'16 Many vaccine programmes claim the credit for what is simply the tendency of illnesses to wax and wane. Far from science having anything to do with finally stamping out polio or tuberculosis, both diseases decided, a number of years ago, to take a breather and are now making a comeback - tuberculosis in many Western countries, polio in many parts of Canada, and diphtheria in Russia and the East.