At least it is well known by the people who understand that vaccines are safe, vaccines are necessary, and that vaccines work.
That’s why it is important to get educated, be skeptical, and do your own research.
How Quickly Can You Debunk Anti-Vaccine Propaganda?
What do you think about the following photo description that is making the rounds on anti-vaccine websites and on Facebook?
How quickly could you figure out if the information is true or not?
“In 1952 alone, nearly 60,000 children were infected with the virus; thousands were paralyzed, and more than 3,000 died.”
Jason Beaubien on Wiping Out Polio: How The U.S. Snuffed Out A Killer
Let’s start doing some research…
The first clue that this isn’t real is that the cases from the Cutter Incident would have been spread out over the five Western and mid-Western USA states where kids got this particular polio vaccine. With about 200 of them severely affected, they almost certainly would not have had such a large group of people in iron lungs, enough to fill a gymnasium, in just one area.
The next clue is that the iron lungs aren’t plugged in.
That led me to a quick search for ‘iron lung photos’ and an article on Understanding Historical Photos that features the iconic “Iron lungs in gym” photo.
“At first glance, this image shocks and saddens from the enormity of the problem of sick children in need of iron lungs. On closer examination, it is clear that the equipment that usually accompanied people using iron lungs, such as tracheotomy tubes and pumps and tankside tables, is not present (compare the picture to photographs in the section on the iron lung). This scene was staged for a film. It is not historically accurate as a respirator ward, but is an example of an established photographic technique (famously used, for example, by WPA photographers in the 1930s) of directing the viewer’s response by creating a shot that would not naturally occur. ”
Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Understanding Historical Photos
A little more research helped me discover that the photo was taken:
- for an informational film that was being produced by the March of Dimes
- in the auditorium of the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California USA
- in 1953
So it took less than a few minutes to figure out that the folks who claim to be “exposing the truth” about vaccines are pushing pure propaganda.
Remember, the Cutter Incident happened in 1955, two years after this photo was taken…
So, a staged 1953 photo for an informational movie for the March of Dimes does not show kids in iron lungs from the Cutter Incident!
How long would you have believed this or other polio myths?
How long would it take you to debunk them?
What to Know About Debunking Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
Learn just how quickly most anti-vaccine misinformation can be debunked if you simply practice being a little skeptical and do your own research.
More About Debunking Anti-Vaccine Propaganda
- My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines
- When Anti-Vaccine Activists Falsely Dismiss Polio and Measles Harm
- Polio vaccine causes cancer – once again, just a myth
- Another antivaccine zombie meme: polio vaccine and SV40 and cancer
- Vaccines didn’t save us
- Polio and Swimming Pools: Historical Connections
- What do polio, pesticides, and cell phone radiation have in common?
- There’s no such thing as viruses?
- Wiping Out Polio: How The U.S. Snuffed Out A Killer
- The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to a Growing Vaccine Crisis