031 - The 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine Fiasco (David Parsons of Nostalgia Trap)


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Guest: David Parsons (@davidlparsons) from the excellent history podcast Nostalgia Trap joins me to discuss Gerald Ford's disastrous rollout of a nationwide vaccination program in 1976 to combat a swine flu pandemic that didn't materialize. Vaccine recipients developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is sometimes fatal, at a rate 8.8 times higher than the unvaccinated, making this event the foundation of the modern American anti-vax movement. But a closer look reveals that those numbers may not be what they seem, and certainly not what anti-vaxxers use them to mean.

Despite our interest in this poorly-remembered historical event, neither David nor your host endorse any vaccine-related conspiracies, and encourage you to do as we are doing: getting the COVID vaccine at the earliest opportunity.

The cocktail of the month is the Typhoid Mary. Has history been unkind to her? Yes, but it turns out she really was kind of a dick.

Question Cathy returns with the mailbag, where we cover the 9th Amendment, Biden's first month, and Wegman's.

Please support Mass for Shut-ins, an independent and ad-free podcast, via Patreon. Contact me via Facebook, Twitter (@edburmila), or the venerable website Gin and Tacos.

Thanks: David Parsons, the bands that contribute music (Waxeater, IfIHadAHiFi, The Sump Pumps, Oscar Bait), Zachary Sielaff, Question Cathy, and all Patreon supporters, subscribers, and listeners.

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