By Alan Cantwell Jr., M.D.

Vaccines help keep us safe from infectious diseases. Smallpox and polio epidemics have been wiped out by mass vaccine programs. People rush to get flu shots every autumn, and kids are bombarded with a barrage of 22 required vaccinations before the age of six. Even pets need their shots. The manufacture of vaccines is a giant industry and what you pay for – inoculations and doctor visits – is big business for pediatricians, family practitioners and veterinarians. So why are more and more people worried about vaccines, especially the ones for kids?

Vaccine-induced Illness

Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Centre, a consumer’s group based in Virginia, USA, claims vaccines are responsible for the increasing numbers of children and adults who suffer from immune system and neurologic disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. She calls for studies to monitor the long-term effects of mass vaccination and Fisher wants physicians to be absolutely sure these vaccines are safe and not harming people.

No one can deny the dangers of vaccines. The measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) and polio vaccines, all contain live but weakened viruses. Although health officials tell you that polio has been wiped out in the US since 1979, they often fail to mention that all recorded cases of polio since that time are actually caused by the polio vaccine.

Vaccine investigator Neil Z. Miller questions whether we still need the polio vaccine when it causes every new case of polio in the USA. Before mass vaccinations programs began fifty years ago, Miller insists we didn’t have cancer in epidemic numbers, that autoimmune ailments were barely known, and childhood autism did not exist.

Vaccine Contamination

There is also the problem of contamination that has always plagued vaccine makers. During World War II a yellow fever vaccine manufactured with human blood serum was unknowingly contaminated with hepatitis virus and given to the military. As a result, more than 50,000 cases of serum hepatitis broke out among American troops injected with the vaccine.

In the 1960s it was discovered that polio vaccines manufactured in monkey kidney tissue between 1955 and 1963 were contaminated with a monkey virus (Simian Virus, number 40). Although this virus causes cancer in experimental animals, health authorities insist it does not cause problems in humans. But evidence of SV40 genetic material has been popping up in human cancers and normal tissue. Researchers are now connecting SV40-contaminated polio vaccines to an increasing number of rare cancers of the lung (mesothelioma) and bone marrow (multiple myeloma). In a 1999 report, SV40 DNA was detected in tissue samples from four children born after 1982. Three were kidney transplant patients, and a fourth had a kidney tumour. Could SV40 be passed on from parents to their children? No one knows for sure.

Covert Vaccine Experiments

Using kids as guinea pigs in potentially harmful vaccine experiments is every parents’ worst nightmare. This actually happened in 1989-1991 when Kaiser Permanente of Southern California and the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) jointly conducted a measles vaccine experiment. Without proper parental disclosure, the Yugoslavian-made “high titre” Edmonston-Zagreb measles vaccine was tested on 1,500 poor, primarily black and Latino, inner city children in Los Angeles. Highly recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the high-potency experimental vaccine was previously injected into infants in Mexico, Haiti, and Africa. It was discontinued in these countries when it was discovered that the children were dying in large numbers.

Unbelievably, the measles vaccine caused long-term suppression of the children’s immune system for six months up to three years. As a result, the immunodepressed children died from other diseases in greater numbers than children who had never received the vaccine. Tragically, African girl babies in the experiment were given twice the dose of boys, and therefore suffered a higher death rate. The WHO pulled the vaccine off the market in 1992.

Ironically, the E-Z measles vaccine tested by Kaiser on minority babies was supposed to increase immunity in younger infants. Instead, the vaccine produced the opposite effect. A Los Angeles Times editorial (June 20, 1996) assured readers that “none of the 1,500 was injured by the unlicensed vaccine” and called upon the CDC to ensure that experiments like the E-Z measles vaccine could never occur again.

One wonders how many secret vaccine experiments are conducted by health authorities that never come to the attention of the public. During the two-year measles experiment I was employed by Kaiser and I never knew anything about it until I read the report in The Times five years later, in 1996.

In the poor inner cities across the United States the number of asthma cases is exploding and health officials don’t know why. According to the CDC, 5000 asthma deaths occur annually; and it is estimated that 17.3 million people (4.8 million are children) suffer from the disease, up from 6.7 million in 1980. Asthma usually begins before age 6, and blacks are two to three times more likely to die from asthma than whites. In the Bronx and Harlem sections of New York City, the hospitalisation rate for asthma is 21 times higher than in the more affluent areas of the city.

Could the sharp rise in asthma in poor children be connected with immunosuppression caused by a barrage of vaccines, as well as a lack of quality medical care and insurance, poor diet, and environmental factors? The possible connection of immunosuppressive vaccines to diseases like asthma has never been raised by health officials.

With vaccine experiments frequently performed in Africa and now on black Americans, no wonder one out of every four African-Americans believes AIDS was developed as a genocide program by the US government to exterminate the black population.

But vaccine experiments in the 1990s have not been limited to blacks. Millions of female Mexicans, Nicaraguans and Filipinos have been duped into taking tetanus vaccines, some of which contained a female hormone that could cause miscarriage and sterilisation. In 1995, a Catholic human rights organisation called Human Life International accused the WHO of promoting a Canadian-made tetanus vaccine laced with a pregnancy hormone called human choriogonadotropic hormone (HCG).

Suspicions were aroused when the tetanus vaccine was prescribed in the unusual dose of five multiple injections over a three month period, and recommended only to women of reproductive age. When an unusual number of women experienced vaginal bleeding and miscarriages after the shots, a hormone additive was uncovered as the cause.

Apparently the WHO has been developing and testing anti-fertility vaccines for over two decades. Women receiving the laced tetanus shot not only developed antibodies to tetanus, but they also developed dangerous antibodies to the pregnancy hormone as well. Without this HCG hormone the growth of the fetus is impaired. Consequently, the laced vaccine served as a covert contraceptive device. Commissioned to analyse the vaccine, the Philippines Medical Association found that 20 percent of the WHO tetanus vaccines were contaminated with the hormone. Not surprisingly, the WHO has denied all accusations as “completely false and without basis,” and the major media have never reported on the controversy. For further details on this issue, consult the Human Life International website (

Newly approved vaccines may also pose serious risks. In October 1999 a vaccine against “rotavirus” infection (which causes most cases of childhood diarrhea) was pulled off the market. One year after the RotaShield vaccine was inoculated into over a million infants, it was found to increase the risk of bowel obstruction. Almost 100 cases of bowel obstruction were reported to the government, and twenty infants developed bowel obstructions within one or two weeks after receiving the vaccine.

Vaccine Manufacture and Associated Dangers

Although the public has heard about side effects of vaccines, most people are clueless about the manufacture of vaccines. Few people know that viruses used in vaccine production need to be grown on animal parts like monkey kidneys, or in chicken embryos, or in human and fetal “cell lines.” Harvesting viruses in human cell-lines can be perilous because some human cell lines are derived from cancer cells.

In AIDS & The Doctors of Death I wrote about the development of the first human “HeLa” cell line – an “immortal” cell line used extensively in cancer and vaccine research for decades. Henrietta Lacks was a young black woman from Baltimore who died from a highly malignant cervical cancer in 1951. Small pieces of her tumour were donated to a laboratory specialising in tissue cell culture. In those days most attempts to grow human cells outside the body failed. But for some unknown reason Henrietta’s cancer cells grew vigorously and became known as the first successful human tissue cell line in history – the now famous HeLa cell line commemorating the legendary HEnrietta LAcks.

Henrietta’s cells were kept alive by feeding them a witches’ brew of beef embryo extract (the ground-up remains of a three-week-old, unborn cattle embryo); fresh chicken plasma obtained from the blood of a live chicken heart; and blood from human placentas (the placenta is the sac that nurtures the developing fetus and contains powerful hormones).

It is now suspected that a sexually-transmitted papilloma virus is the cause of cervical cancer. And it is anybody’s guess how many other chicken, cattle, and human viruses are incorporated into the HeLa cell line, but none of this possible viral contamination seems to bother scientists who have extensively used the cells in cancer research. What laboratory scientists did eventually discover was that HeLa cells proved so hardy that they frequently contaminated other tissue cell lines used in cancer and cancer virus research.

In the late 1960s when widespread HeLa cell contamination problems were uncovered, scientists were shocked and embarrassed to learn that millions of dollars worth of published cancer experiments were ruined. “Liver cells” and “monkey cells” that were used in cancer experiments turned out to be Henrietta’s cancer cells in disguise. Benign cells that supposedly “spontaneously transformed” into malignant cells were found to be cells contaminated with cancerous HeLa cells.

The serious problem of HeLa cell contamination in cancer and vaccine research is revealed in Michael Gold’s A Conspiracy of Cells: One Woman’s Immortal Legacy and the Medical Scandal It Caused. Even Jonas Salk, who developed the legendary Salk polio vaccine, was fooled when HeLa cells contaminated his animal cell lines. He admitted this years later in 1978 before a stunned audience of cell biologists and vaccine makers. In experiments performed in the late 1950s on dying cancer patients, Salk tried injecting them with a cell line of monkey heart tissue – the same cell line he used to harvest polio virus for his famous vaccine. He hoped the monkey cell injections would stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. However, when abscesses developed at the site of injections, Salk began to suspect that he might be injecting HeLa cells rather than monkey cells, and he stopped the experiment.

Mark Nelson-Rees, a HeLa cell expert and one of the 1978 conference attendees, offered to test Salk’s line if it was still available. Salk graciously agreed and the monkey cells indeed proved to be HeLa cells which had invaded and taken over the monkey cell line. According to author Gold, Salk thought there were adequate ways to separate viruses from the tissue cell lines they were harvested in, so that it really didn’t matter what kind of cells were used. Even if vaccines weren’t filtered, and even if whole cancer cells were injected directly into a human, Salk believed they would be rejected by the body and cause no harm. In those days doctors didn’t much believe in cancer-causing viruses. Nowadays, no researcher would dare try injecting cancer cells into a human being. But in the 1950s Salk had done it accidentally. He had injected HeLa cells into a few dozen patients and it hadn’t bothered him a bit.

Is There a Vaccine Contamination
Connection to AIDS?

Most people assume vaccines are “sterile” and germ free. But sterilising a vaccine can destroy the necessary immunising protein that makes it work. Thus, contaminating viruses or viral “particles” can sometime survive the vaccine process.

Animal viruses are also contained in fetal calf serum, a blood product commonly used as a laboratory nutrient to feed various tissue cell cultures. Vaccine contamination by fetal calf serum and its possible relationship to HIV was the subject of a letter by J. Grote, published in the Journal of the Royal (London) Society of Medicine in October 1988. Bovine visna virus (which looks similar to HIV) is a known contaminant of fetal calf serum used in vaccine production and virus-like particles have been detected in vaccines certified for clinical use. Grote warns that “It seems absolutely vital that all vaccines are screened for HIV prior to use, and that bovine visna virus is further investigated as to its relationship to HIV and its possible role in progression towards AIDS.”

Could virus-contaminated vaccines lie at the root of AIDS? A few researchers, including myself, believe HIV was “introduced” into gays during the experimental hepatitis B vaccine trials when thousands of homosexuals were injected in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, during the years 1978-1981.

The AIDS epidemic first erupted in gays living in those cities in 1981. In 1980, one year before, already 20% of the gays inoculated in Manhattan with the experimental vaccine were already HIV-positive. This was several years before definite AIDS cases were diagnosed in Africa. In the early 1970s the hepatitis B vaccine was developed in chimpanzees, now wildly accepted as the animal from which HIV supposedly evolved.

Hepatitis B vaccine was developed to protect people from the sexual spread of the hepatitis B virus. Now the government recommends that all newborn babies be given the vaccine [this is also the case in Australia]. Such recommendations do not make sense to many parents. And people are still fearful of the hepatitis B vaccine because of its original connection to gay men and AIDS. The original experimental vaccine was made from the pooled blood serum of hepatitis-infected homosexuals and, as mentioned, serum-based vaccines cannot be sterilised.

Another theory of AIDS is that HIV originated from polio vaccines contaminated with chimp and monkey viruses, and administered to Africans in the late 1950s. In The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS, published in 1999, Edward Hooper details how polio vaccine was made using monkey (and possibly chimp) kidneys and how the ancestor virus of HIV could have jumped species (via the vaccine) to produce the outbreak of AIDS in Africa. Hooper’s well-researched book greatly expands the polio vaccine theory of AIDS first reported by Tom Curtis in Rolling Stone magazine in 1992, and The River is a must-read for anyone interested in the possible man-made origin of AIDS.

Other researchers think it more likely that the various WHO-sponsored vaccine programs (particularly the smallpox program) in Africa in the 1970s are responsible for unleashing AIDS in Africa in the 1980s. Hooper, who has worked as a United Nations official, has discounted the research pointing to AIDS as a man-made disease, as proposed by Dr. Leonard Horowitz in Emerging Viruses, and in my two books AIDS & The Doctors of Death: An Inquiry into the Origin of the AIDS Epidemic and Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot.

Horowitz and I both suspect contaminated smallpox vaccines as the source of HIV in Africa. Certainly the smallpox (vaccinia-cowpox) virus is an excellent virus to use for the genetic engineering of new, multipurpose vaccines. By splicing into the DNA genes of the vaccinia virus, scientists can add on parts of disease-producing viruses like influenza, hepatitis, and other viruses. The safety of this technique has not been fully evaluated, prompting one vaccine maker at a Vaccinia Virus Workshop in 1984 to ask if this could lead to another form of AIDS.

Vaccine Connection to Gulf War Illness and Huntsville Mystery Illness

The cause of Gulf War Illness (GWI) is unknown. For years this debilitating illness (which now affects one-half of the Gulf War vets) has been ignored by Pentagon officials who claim the disease does not exist and that vets are simply reacting to stress. GWI is also thought to be contagious. Vets insist their disease has been passed on to spouses, other family members, and even pets.

Some people suspect multiple vaccines, particularly the experimental anthrax vaccine, are implicated in the disease. Currently, soldiers who refuse to take the mandatory anthrax vaccine are being court-martialled and dismissed from the service.

Researchers Dr. Garth Nicolson and his wife Nancy have found a tiny bacterial microbe (a “mycoplasma”) in the blood of nearly half the ill vets with GWI. Amazingly, this infectious agent has a piece of HIV (the AIDS virus) attached to it. This microbe could never have occurred naturally. On the contrary, the composition of the microbe suggests a man-made and genetically-engineered biological warfare agent.

Garth Nicolson’s scientific credentials are impeccable. For 16 years he was a professor of medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, as well as professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Texas Medical School, also in Houston. Nancy Nicolson, a molecular biophysicist, was on the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine.

Six months after returning home from the Gulf War, the Nicolson’s daughter contracted GWI. Her mother Nancy had contracted a similar illness in 1987 when she was working with Mycoplasma incognitus in infectious disease research. Finally suspecting that this research had biowarfare implications, Nancy Nicolson became a whistle-blower and angered officials. As a result, she believes she was deliberately infected with the mycoplasma. After partial paralysis and a long illness, she finally regained her health with the antibiotic Doxycycline.

The Nicolson’s discovery of a similar mycoplasma (but without the attachment of HIV) in a mysterious illness that erupted in the Huntsville, Texas area among prison guards and their families has all the drama of a ‘Movie of the Week’. Although the Huntsville disease broke out in the late 1980s (shortly before the Gulf War), it has many of the same signs and symptoms of GWI. Many locals are convinced the sometimes deadly disease originally spread from prisoners incarcerated in several large prisons around Huntsville.

In experiments conducted during the 1970s and 80s, the prisoners were inoculated with flu vaccines containing genetically engineered viruses and mycoplasma. It is suspected that vaccines were being covertly developed and deployed as biological warfare weapons. Nobel prize winner James Watson, world famous for his discovery of the molecular structure of DNA and a leading researcher of the still ongoing Human Genome Project, was involved in these prison experiments. The guards are convinced the Huntsville mystery illness is intimately connected to these experiments, jointly conducted by the Medical School and the military. Like GWI, health officials deny the disease exists.

The Nicolsons continue to developed antibiotic treatments, which have helped some vets. But they have paid a heavy price for their controversial research and unprecedented discoveries. Garth Nicolson was forced to resign from M.D. Anderson in 1996. His career and reputation destroyed, the Nicolsons have since moved to California and head The Institute for Molecular Medicine in Huntington Beach.

Dangerous Animal and Human Cell Lines
in Vaccine Manufacture

In an effort to quell concerns about the safety of vaccines, scientists are finally taking another look at the “non-infectious” particles of bird-cancer viruses (avian leukosis virus) in the mumps/measles/rubella vaccines routinely given to kids. Could this be the reason the US Federal Drug Administration held a meeting in September, 1999, to reconsider using human tumour cell lines (like HeLa) rather than monkey kidneys and chicken embryos which are no longer guaranteed 100% safe?

Writing in Science, Gretchen Vogel admits public trust in vaccines is a bit shaky. In Wales anti-vaccine parents are holding “measles parties” to infect their children with the disease rather than vaccinate them. She cites the danger of using immortal cell lines for live vaccine production because cancer genes or other hazardous factors might be transferred to people receiving vaccines. But manufacturers also realise vaccine critics are becoming more wary of vaccines made in animal and bird tissue. And vaccine makers want to use immortal cell lines to grow their viruses because obviously viruses can’t grow on their own.

The big question everyone seems to avoid is: Can vaccines cause cancer? There is certainly evidence connecting contaminated vaccines to AIDS. And HIV is a cancer-causing virus. Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of HIV in 1984, has clearly stated AIDS is an epidemic of cancer.

Animal and avian viruses can contaminate vaccines and have all been studied as cancer-causing agents. And cancer and vaccine research would be much more difficult without the use of cell lines, some of which are derived from cancer.

Vaccines and Public Paranoia

Is the fear of vaccines justified? It is clear that vaccines can be dangerous. The contamination of vaccines is a reality, and vaccine experiments can be hazardous to one’s health. AIDS, unknown two decades ago, is now an increasing worldwide epidemic with millions of death predicted for the next decade. Could vaccines contaminated with cancer-causing and immunosuppressive viruses unleash new plagues in the New Millennium? If so, the new plagues may be far worse than the diseases we eradicated by vaccine programs in the twentieth century.


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Cantwell A: AIDS & the Doctors of Death. Aries Rising Press, Los Angeles, 1988.

Cantwell A: Queer Blood. Aries Rising Press, Los Angeles, 1993.

Gold M: A Conspiracy of Cells. State University of New York Press, Albany, 1986.

Hooper E: The River: A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1999.

Horowitz L: Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola. Tetrahedron, Inc, Rockport, MA, 1996.

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Miller NZ: Immunizations: The People Speak! New Atlantean Press, Santa Fe, 1996.

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Alan Cantwell is a physician and AIDS researcher. His book on the man-made epidemic of AIDS entitled AIDS & The Doctors of Death: An Inquiry into the Origin of the AIDS Epidemic, is available on the Internet through or Barnes and Noble, in Australia through Infinity Bookshop in Sydney, Tel: (02) 92122225. Comprehensive information on the dangers of vaccines available at

The above article appeared in
New Dawn No. 63 (November-December 2000)

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