Charles Forward

[1933] The Golden Calf by Charles W. Forward

The so-called " humanized lymph," which was obligatory for nearly eighty years, had finally to be condemned, and, since 1898, " calf lymph which no Public Vaccinator had previously been allowed to use, has replaced arm-to-arm vaccination."  A feature of the calf lymph was the addition of glycerine (see Appendix II) with a view to increase the quantity and to destroy all extraneous germs of disease. Then it was found that glycerine is itself a nutritive medium for the growth of putrefactive and other germs. " I have heard of dilutions of lymph with glycerine," wrote a Chief Medical Officer of the Local Government Board,1 " It will, I trust, be long before such preposterous adulterations of vaccine give the opportunity of investigating their results in English practices." The primary source of calf-lymph was disclosed in a lecture at Owens College, by Dr. S. Monckton Copeman,2 who stated that small-pox material was obtained from living patients and also from the corpses of those who had died from small-pox. This matter —after being passed through the bodies of monkeys and calves—was used to " vaccinate " a number of children. [1933] The Golden Calf by Charles W. Forward

The indisposition of the authorities to admit any awkward facts telling against vaccination is a feature in the history of Jennerism. Thus, until 1911 it was the practice to tabulate deaths following vaccination under the heading—" Cowpox and other Effects of Vaccination." At the date referred to a new heading, " Vaccinia," was introduced. It is explained in Par. 20c1 that five deaths, all of infants, which would in former years have been assigned to the effects of vaccination, appear under the respective headings of erysipelas, pyaemia, septicaemia, convulsions, and phlegmon. Possibly the Registrar-General could offer some reason for altering the practice of thirty years, but the effect, none the less, is to exonerate vaccination by attributing death to secondary causes instead of to the primary cause—vaccination.

Evidence as to the dangers of vaccination has steadily accumulated, and a terrible list of suffering and fatalities could, be drawn up. In 1922, Profs. Turnbull and McIntosh drew attention to seven fatal cases of post-vaccinal encephalitis lethargica2 (sleepy sickness), and stated that " Vaccination was not a chance coincidence but the causal factor." After due deliberation the Ministry of Health appointed a Committee under the presidency of Sir F. W. Andrewes to investigate and advise " regarding Nervous Sequels stated to have occurred after Vaccination."   This Committee was appointed in Nov., 1923, and completed its Report in May, 1925. The contents of this Report were of so damaging a character that it was deemed advisable to withhold it from publication. Its existence was made known by a reference made to it by Prof. Jorge (Director General of Public Health in Portugal) at the International Conference on Public Health at The Hague in the following year. But even then it was not published, and it appeared belatedly embodied in the Report of the Rolleston Committee (Cmd. 3148) issued in 1928 ! In this (the Rolleston) Report ninety-three cases of post-vaccinal encephalitis with fifty-one deaths are stated to have occurred between Nov., 1922, and Sept., 1927, and in a subsequent Report (Cmd. 3738), covering the three following years, there are recorded a further ninety cases with forty-two deaths.

On September 15,1924, Joseph Antoine, a lad of seven years, was bitten by a cat. Shortly afterwards the cat bit one of his sisters who appeared no worse for the incident. The boy received the Pasteur treatment, and fifteen days later became apathetic and subsequently complained of pain in the left hip (the side opposite the bite) and limped. His temperature rose to 38.5°C, he lost strength, and, four days later, paralysis of the lower limbs appeared, and death followed from spinal paralysis (Landry's).

The real reason for using the false description, " vaccine," was more probably the calculation that so dangerous an innovation could be more easily " put over " by some sort of camouflage. At all events the word has since been loosely and indiscriminately applied to all and sundry preparations of this kind, though the cow is in no way associated with their production. [1933] The Golden Calf by Charles W. Forward