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Old 10 June 2011, 08:41 PM
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Default Former head of NIH against vaccination?

Found on Facebook:

“The only safe vaccine is one that is never used.”
Dr. James R. Shannon, former Director, National Institute of Health [1955-68]
There is a problem with this, though, in that the only reference I can find to Shannon making this statement is on propaganda sites.

Furthermore, it seems the former head has a slightly different name (James A. Shannon):

I'm interested in finding the origin of the false quotation and when it supposedly occurred.
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Old 20 July 2011, 01:42 AM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
Join Date: 14 July 2006
Location: Indiana
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What I can find suggests that someone, named Dr. James R. Sheenan, Sheehan, or Sheanan, and Googling all the names gives several hits on pediatricians, historians, and other people who could have made a statement, but at any rate, what seems to have happened, was that someone asked the doctor if any vaccine was absolutely, 100% safe, and he replied that "We all know vaccines can have side effects, so of course the only wholly safe vaccine is one that isn't given."

The same thing could be said about any medication or medical treatment, and is just a statement about risk-benefit analysis.

In a sort or telephone game, someone edited the quote to make it sound like a doctor was stating that vaccines were unsafe, and then someone else thought they recognized the name as the former head of the NIH, and added the attribution. Then someone else noted that the name of the former head of the NIH had been spelled wrong and corrected it. Or something like that.

And now everyone quotes it without citation or attribution.
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