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President Ford receives a swine flu inoculation in 1976 from White House physician, Dr. William Lukash.Wikimedia Commons

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(LifeSiteNews) — If you’re like most people who feel you’ve suddenly awakened in a new and totally unrecognizable America, in which hastily-produced vaccinations are offered as the only salvation from a spurious public health menace, your reaction to the rapidly changing social order has probably not been déjà vu. 

But while lockdowns, mask mandates, and an apparent move toward vaxxed and unvaxxed water fountains are all new developments, the path of mass immunization for no legitimate reason has been trodden before.  

For a bit of historical background to our current situation, we need look no further than the 1976 swine flu debacle, an entirely contrived catastrophe in which an unsuspecting American public was snookered into taking a rushed-through injection while big business and big government covered up the risks of neurological damage and even death. 

‘The flu season is upon us’ 

In a recently resurfaced investigative documentary, 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace took on the story of the 1976 public health disaster that even The New York Times called a “fiasco.” 

The saga began after a single soldier at Fort Dix, New Jersey, contracted a strain of influenza and died.  

What was not immediately reported was that the soldier had gotten up out of his sick bed to participate in a physically strenuous nighttime march in the middle of the winter, after which he passed away.  


Instead of overexertion, the flu was blamed for his death, and not just any flu: a strain of the virus known as H1N1 and dubbed the “swine flu,” thought at the time to have the capability of plunging the United States into a 1918-type pandemic that could cause a million deaths. 

The trouble was, according to 60 Minutes, only a handful of other soldiers at Fort Dix contracted the swine flu, all of whom recovered.  

The crisis was a non-starter. 

Nonetheless, the event, combined with a handful of unconfirmed reports of other swine flu cases in various other countries, was packaged as a harbinger of viral destruction and triggered a massive government wartime campaign for nationwide immunizations using hastily produced flu shots out of a misguided sense of urgency.  

As it turned out, rushing through the production of influenza inoculations to attempt to get ahead of an ostensibly looming health crisis was a recipe for disaster. 

As Discover Magazine reported in a 2013 article, the haste with which the flu vaccine was produced led developers to use an attenuated “live virus” rather than an inactivated form, thereby increasing the chance that the vaccinated would develop adverse side effects from the injection.  

But the government didn’t stop to examine the risks and failed to warn the public of potential side effects.  

Instead, government officials claimed that the public would not be safe from the swine flu scourge until 80% of Americans were vaccinated.  

Vaccinate ‘every man, woman, and child in the United States’ 

In March 1976, President Gerald Ford announced in a press conference that the government planned to vaccinate “every man, woman, and child in the United States.”  

In April, Ford signed into law the federal government’s “National Swine Flu Immunization Program,” a sweeping vaccination scheme with a $135 million price tag.  

After initially facing resistance from vaccine manufacturers in rushing through the new drugs, the corporations only agreed to go through with it after the government agreed to provide them protection against any claims that the vaccine had caused adverse reactions. 

Months later, a massive public relations campaign was kicked off, with persuasive advertising including an impressive lineup of politicians and celebrities pictured getting the shot. 

As Wallace later observed, however, not all celebrities who allegedly got the shot ever did — notably, flu shot marketing listed actress and dancer Mary Tyler Moore as a prominent personality who got the jab, but when interviewed by 60 Minutes, she said that she had never taken it. 

Just 10 weeks after the shots were rolled out on October 1, roughly a quarter of the U.S. population (about 46 million people) had been vaccinated. 

Faulty data 

Heading up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the time was Dr. David Senser, who helped devise the government’s immunization program and whose CDC led the public relations campaigns urging people to take the shot. 

After resigning in 1977 after the swine flu narrative crumbled, Senser told 60 Minutes that while “several” cases of swine flu had been reported around the world by the time his CDC launched its mass immunization program, none had been confirmed. 

Asked if any outbreaks of the virus had been reported anywhere in the world, Senser answered: “No.” 

Nonetheless, apparently going on faulty data and a mistaken belief that the swine flu would lead to an apocalyptic-scale pandemic, Senser’s CDC shifted into overdrive, launching an urgent and nationwide vaccination scheme. 

It’s a chain of events at least mildly reminiscent of last March’s Imperial College London COVID-19 model, in which epidemiologist Neil Ferguson projected a cataclysmic number of deaths from the virus, leading to public hysteria and the lockdown of both the United States and the U.K. under draconian and unprecedented shutdowns. 

The model turned out to be based on faulty data and Ferguson himself was discredited after violating his own social distancing recommendations to engage in an extramarital affair. 

‘I can’t believe that they would say that they did not know that there were neurological illnesses associated with influenza vaccination’ 

In 1976, the panicked response to the potential of a swine flu outbreak led to the rushed creation of vaccination centers relying upon personnel other than doctors to perform vaccinations in a sweeping immunization program.  

Lacking a sufficient number of medical professionals to advise people properly, the emergency setup required the CDC to devise a “consent form” providing people with the information they needed to know before getting the jab.  

Information sheets at the time informed Americans that the vaccines had been successfully tested. 

“What it didn’t say was that after those tests were completed, the scientists developed another vaccine, and that was the one given to most of the 46 million who took the shot,” the 60 Minutes report noted. “That vaccine was called X53A.” 

Asked if X53A had ever been field tested, Dr. Senser told the network: “I don’t know.” 

After the vaccines were linked to serious injuries, including neurological conditions, Senser said that no one had ever informed himself or his colleagues in the CDC that there could be the risk of neurological damage from the injections. 

However, Dr. Michael Hattwick, who directed the surveillance team for the swine flu program and the CDC, and whose job required that he nose out any potential harms that could come from the immunizations, said, “that’s nonsense.” 

Asked whether he and the CDC knew that neurological disorders could result from the vaccine, Hattwick said “absolutely.” 

“I can’t believe that they would say that they did not know that there were neurological illnesses associated with influenza vaccination,” he said. “That simply is not true. They did know that.” 

Asked for his reaction to Hattwick’s claims, Dr. Senser implied that the surveillance team director was lying, and insisted he had no knowledge of potential neurological damage resulting from the shots. 

Contrary to Senser’s claims, a July 1976 CDC report specifically listed neurological complications as a potential side effect of the vaccines. 

‘They should have told us’ 

In 1976, the Ford administration did not shut down the national economy. Neither governments nor businesses cracked down on public gatherings, imposed mask mandates, forced social distancing, or locked down schools and workplaces.  

In 1976, vaccination status was not made a prerequisite for participation in ordinary life. The vaccines, while urged, were not mandated. 

But while government officials hyped up the urgency of a public health crisis that turned out to be nothing more than the sniffles, the swine flu debacle was more or less a sin of omission: while pushing vaccination, the government failed to advise the public of the risks, or to let them know that the anticipated crisis had simply never materialized. 

After tens of millions of trusting Americans voluntarily rolled up their sleeves for the swine flu jab, hundreds developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralysis-inducing disease that has also been traced to COVID-19 vaccines. 

One woman interviewed in the 60 Minutes documentary was Judi Roberts, an active, healthy teacher in her mid-30s who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within weeks of taking the wholly unnecessary flu shot in late 1976. 

“I’d never taken any other flu shots, but I felt this was going to be a major epidemic,” Roberts said. “And the only way to prevent a major epidemic of a really deadly variety of flu was for everyone to be immunized.” 

Roberts said she was motivated to get the shot after hearing about the young Fort Dix soldier who allegedly died from the swine flu, but would have acted differently had she known the whole story. 

“If this disease is so potentially fatal that it’s going to kill a young, healthy man, a middle-aged schoolteacher doesn’t have a prayer,” she said, but added that “if I had known at that time that the boy had been in a sick bed, got up, went out on a forced march, and then collapsed and died, I would never have taken the shot.” 

The consent form supplied ahead of vaccination was supposed to warn people of possible adverse side effects from taking the injection, but Roberts said she had never heard of any negative effects except for a sore arm, fever, or other mild reactions. 

Roberts’ husband also got the shot, and agreed that he was not forewarned of potential risks. 

“I looked at that document, I signed it, nothing on there said I was going to have a heart attack, or I was going to get Guillain-Barré, which I’d never heard of,” he said. 

In the interview, the 60 Minutes journalist asked Roberts what her reaction would be if she discovered that the CDC and other government officials indeed knew about the risks associated with the vaccines. 

“They should’ve told us,” Roberts said. 

In October 1976, the swine flu immunization program was halted in nine states after three elderly people died following inoculation, just six months after President Ford signed a bill authorizing the immunization plan. 

By December, the scheme was stopped nationwide. 

How many need to die? 

While the 1970s federal government lost the public trust for its botched immunization scheme in response to a trumped-up public health crisis, it did one thing right: After serious side effects and deaths were reported from the vaccines, it halted the rollout and scrapped the PR campaign. 

What about our current public health debacle? More than nine months into the launch of rushed-through experimental drugs supposedly to treat COVID-19 (the fatality rate of which is drastically lower than the public was initially led to believe), reported injuries and even deaths attributed to the drugs have skyrocketed. 

Data released late last month show that between Dec. 14, 2020 and August 27, 2021, a total of 650,077 total adverse events connected with COVID-19 shots were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the government-funded database for logging adverse reactions to vaccines.  

Among the reported adverse events were 85,971 serious injuries and 13,911 deaths. As of last month, at least 504 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, the same syndrome that afflicted Judi Roberts in 1976, were reported to VAERS in connection with the COVID-19 jab. 

U.S. VAERS reports can be filed by doctors, pharmacists, other healthcare workers, or private citizens who have experienced or witnessed an adverse event. While each case must be investigated to determine a causal relationship between the vaccine and the event described, it is illegal to fabricate a VAERS report. 

It is possible that reported adverse reactions may provide only a glimpse at the true damage. A 2009 Harvard-Pilgrim Healthcare study found that the VAERS’ passive reporting system had captured only 1% of the true adverse events that should have been reported to the system. 

How many serious adverse reactions and deaths must occur after COVID-19 vaccination before vaccine mandates are stopped and the hastily-produced inoculations are poured down the drain? 

‘Who’s going to take the shot?’ 

In late 2020, mainstream media outlets ran stories detailing the “fiasco” of the 1976 swine flu response and its hurried vaccination scheme, eager to discredit the efforts of then-President Donald Trump and his “Operation Warp Speed.”  

“With a pandemic looming, the US president announced a warp-speed effort to vaccinate every man, woman and child in the country,” wrote the BBC of the swine flu effort in a September 2020 article, clearly hinting at Trump’s sped-up vaccination development program while describing a universality in the vaccination scheme that Trump never promoted.  

Ultimately, “Warp Speed” turned out to be the perfect lose-lose strategy for the 45th president.  

The program was designed to push through COVID-19 inoculations and put an end to a trumped-up pandemic, which was itself expertly harnessed by bad actors in media and government to put an end to Trump’s presidency. 

By 2021, of course, the establishment won the battle, ousting Trump from office after blaming him for every COVID death, berating him for refusing to mask up, accusing him of irresponsibly speeding up vaccine development, and then accusing him of staging an insurrection, deplatforming him from public discourse, and impeaching him a second time, just for good measure. 

But corporate media thought-pieces comparing COVID-19 shots with the debacle of the 1976 influenza immunization scheme faded away after the White House was ceded to Joe Biden in a bizarre swearing-in ceremony whereby the barely sentient new president peacefully and legitimately took power surrounded by razor-wire and armed troops.  

Suddenly, elites in the media and government scrambled to legitimize the COVID-19 vaccines they had spent so much time discrediting, and the new narrative had to leave the past behind.  

1976 was a debacle, surely, but 2021 would be different. 

Thus the same Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who publicly slung mud at Trump for his administration’s rushed-through vaccine program, asking “who’s going to take the shot?” and quipping, “if Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it,” once in power immediately shifted to an aggressive knockdown-drag-out vaccination scheme, demanding complete and total acceptance of the same hastily produced experimental concoctions they had derided as a matter of cynical political posturing just months earlier. 

No end in sight 

Nine months into an increasingly mandatory mass vaccination program, the COVID-19 debacle is showing no signs of slowing down.  

The matter of COVID-19 vaccination has moved from public derision by establishment media figures and politicians to public compulsion by the same powers, with the Biden administration now opting to use the full weight of the federal government to force private businesses to require their employees to get the jab or face weekly testing, a strong-arm tactic affecting tens of millions of Americans. 

Meanwhile, although the World Health Organization has called for a slowing of approval for booster shots, COVID czar Dr. Anthony Fauci has signaled that a third shot is on the horizon. 

And despite a lack of evidence that harsh and oppressive lockdowns, mask mandates, and cancelling of public events do anything whatsoever to stop the spread of the virus, the Australian state of Victoria has entered its sixth lockdown. 

The unprecedented global totalitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic has made the “fiasco” of the 1976 swine flu scare look insignificant by comparison.  

Incredible as it may seem now, only a few years ago thoughtful articles published by left-leaning news outlets and medical journals examined what went wrong back in 1976 and took away lessons from the now-historical events. 

“The American public can be notably skeptical of forceful government enterprises in public health, whether involving vaccine advocacy or limitations on the size of soft drinks sold in fast food chains or even information campaigns against emerging outbreaks,” Discover Magazine commented.   

The magazine cited historian George Dehner, who in 2010 wrote that the swine flu debacle “triggered an enduring public backlash against flu vaccination, embarrassed the federal government and cost the director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control his job.”  

“There was always the fear of doing too little,” observed Dr. Hattwick, hypothesizing that in future, “there’ll be more fear about doing too much and that may be a lesson we learned from ’76.” 

“By December of ’76, it appeared the flu shot posed a bigger threat than the flu itself, and red-faced officials halted the vaccination program,” observed NPR’s Scott Horsley in 2009. “The ’76 flu scare is now taught as a case study in government and public health courses.”   

But if the swine flu scare is a case study, what has it taught us? In 2021, have government officials stopped concealing side effects and risks, and done their due diligence before launching a mass immunization program? 

More pressingly, what have citizens learned? If millions of Americans saw their trust in government authority betrayed in 1976, why should Americans in 2021 trust a government that has only become more corrupt over time? 

If the deaths of a few people led to a nationwide halt of the influenza vaccine strategy back in 1976, how many will need to die before the federal government shuts down COVID-19 vaccinations, or at least mandates? 

Unfortunately, there appears to be no limiting principle. 

‘The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government’ 

If the COVID-19 pandemic is ever to end, only the public has the power to stop it, meeting mass mandates with mass noncompliance. 

As the great Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton noticed in his 1922 work entitled Eugenics and Other Evils, the “[g]overnment has become ungovernable; that is, it cannot leave off governing. Law has become lawless; that is, it cannot see where laws should stop.” 

“The chief feature of our time is the meekness of the mob and the madness of the government.” 

We must overcome our meekness in the face of a government that is either too foolish, or mad, or perhaps too corrupted and evil to govern properly. 

If the 1976 swine flu scare taught the American people anything, it should have been this: We ought not take the government at its word, especially in matters of personal autonomy and physical health.  

The same federal government that so badly bungled the alleged swine flu pandemic in 1976 — the same federal government, indeed, which has legalized and sanctified the mass slaughter of babies through abortion — has no business demanding trust and obedience when it seeks to impose medical treatments upon the populace. Only disaster can follow. 

History has shown it, and history will show it again.  

How will history remember those who failed to stop it? 

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Ashley Sadler is a Florida-based journalist for LifeSiteNews. She has a deep love of American history and the Traditional Latin Mass. In her free time she enjoys mountain-biking, taking road trips, and reading classic literature.

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