“This government-led campaign was widely viewed as a debacle and put an irreparable dent in future public health initiative, as well as negatively influenced the public’s perception of both the flu and the flu shot in this country.” – Rebecca Kreston, writing for Discover Magazine
After a soldier named David Lewis died from a newly emerged form of influenza, then-US Secretary of Health F. David Mathis announced that this virus indicated “a return of the 1918 flu virus that is the most virulent form of flu,” and in extension the most deadly pandemic since the start of the 20th century.
The CDC decided that in order to prevent another pandemic, 80% of Americans would have to be vaccinated immediately. Ultimately, 46 million Americans received the vaccine for a virus which never actually emerged.
Resulting from what Rebecca Kreston believes to be then-President Ford’s “increasingly politically motivated” election campaign was that over 450 mostly elderly folks came down with a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, an illness that causes full-body paralysis and of which there is no cure.