In my first week in the House of Representatives in 1976, I cast one of the two votes against legislation appropriating funds for a swine flu vaccination program. A swine flu outbreak was then dominating headlines, so most in DC were frantic to “do something” about the virus.
Unfortunately, the hastily developed and rushed-into-production swine flu vaccine was not only ineffective, it was dangerous. Approximately 50 people who received the vaccine subsequently contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially fatal form of paralysis. According to an expert with the Centers for Disease Control, the incidence of Guillain-Barré was four times higher among those who received the swine flu vaccine than in the general population.
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