John Anthony Morris, MD (1919–2014)

John Anthony MorrisJohn Anthony Morris, MD, Former Bacteriologist, Division of Biologics Standards, and Research Virologist, FDA, and prior to that he was a virologist at NIH from 1940s to 1976 when he was fired for blowing the whistle on the ineffectiveness and hazards of the “Swine Flu” vaccine.

“The producers of these [influenza] vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway. . . . It’s a medical rip-off. . . I believe the public should have truthful information on the basis of which they can determine whether or not to take the vaccine.” And he adds, “I believe that, given full information, they won’t take the vaccine.” (The Washington Post, 1979)

Dr. Morris who trained at Walter Reed Hospital, had a distinguished career researching viral and respiratory diseases at NIH. In the mid-1950s NIH assigned him to investigating vaccines and their risk factors. In 1959, Dr. Morris was recruited to FDA’s Division of Biologics (DBS) for long-term influenza research as a heated controversy was brewing within the public health community about the efficacy of the first flu vaccine. High level officials argued for mass vaccination against the flu and common cold: Dr. Morris was charged with validating their view. However, Dr. Morris was alarmed at what he found: first, it was impossible to measure the actual strength of the vaccine — regardless of its stated potency on the label. Ant studies he had one on elderly people showed that if they derived a benefit it was so small that it could not be reliably measured. Furthermore, the vaccine did not produce antibodies in the lungs and mucus membranes where an infection starts. His studies raised concerns about the vaccine’s side effects.

[pullquote]The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.[/pullquote]After completing his studies in 1966, he reported his concerns to his superiors who retaliated in no uncertain terms: DBS officials confiscated his research materials, changed locks on his laboratory, reassigned his laboratory staff elsewhere, and blocked his efforts to publish his findings. DBS further harassed Dr. Morris, assigning him to a small room with no telephone: anyone who wished to see him had to get permission from the chief of the laboratory. Dr. Morris learned the hard way that “There is a close tie between government scientists and manufacturing scientists. And my results were hurting the market for flu vaccines.” By sweeping the scientific evidence out of sight, over 20 million doses of flu vaccine were being sold in the US by 1970 — it became one of the largest selling vaccines. The same year, DBS fired Dr. Morris who then instituted a wrongful dismissal suit. All charges against him were overturned, and the grievance committee unanimously found that Dr. Morris had been harassed by his superiors. However his professional reputation had been badly damaged.

Dr. Morris was determined to clear his name publicly. With his lawyer, James Turner, he drew up a detailed memorandum showing “dubious techniques” used to test the flu vaccine and charging that NIH and DBS officials had “tampered” with the test results. They also identified other scientists who had been forced to leave DBS when their research findings might affect a vaccine market. Dr. Morris gave a copy of the memorandum to Senator Ribicoff who initiated a GAO investigation whose findings concurred with some of Dr. Morris’s criticism about the significant misrepresentation of the flu vaccine’s effectiveness. Dr. Morris’ research found that in children, it often induced fever; in some pregnant women it could harm the fetus; and there was a risk for everyone the vaccine because it was “literally loaded with extraneous bacteria.”

Increasingly, American scientists were understanding that they were expected to be state scientists, not rocking the boat nor making independent findings. Dr. Morris’s criticism of DBS was endorsed by former DBS scientists. In 1972, The New York Times quoted B.G. Young who characterized DBS reprisals against honest scientists: “Suppression, harassment, and censorship of individual investigators. . . I finally came to realize that you either had to compromise yourself or leave. Morris and Eddy are the real heroes in that place because they stayed and fought. The others voted with their feet and left.”

[pullquote]There is a close tie between government scientists and manufacturing scientists. And my results were hurting the market for flu vaccines.[/pullquote]In 1972, Dr. Morris was working at the FDA on a new live flu vaccine to be administered as nose drops in the hope that it would solve the problems of the earlier vaccine. The live vaccine had been tested in children without prior testing in mice. Dr. Morris initiated such a test and found that the live flu vaccine induced tumors in the animals. His finding clashed with the bureaucrats, but the live vaccine was grounded. The last straw in the tug of war between Dr. Morris and the public health bureaucracy occurred in 1976 when Dr. Morris publicly challenged CDC’s nationwide Swine flu vaccination campaign. A swine flu strain had been found in a single soldier who died at Fort Dix. CDC officials saw this as an opportunity to set in motion a worldwide pandemic by claiming that the swine flu virus was the same as the one that killed millions in the 1918 epidemic. That claim was false: scientists at Fort Detric (the biological warfare unit) found it to be an ordinary pig virus that posed no risk for humans.

CDC’s hardsell campaign warned the public that the estimated deaths in the US from the “swine flu” was one million. Dr. Morris informed his boss that he would speak out. He was warned “I would advise you not to talk about this.” When vaccine recipients began reporting adverse reactions, including Guillain Barre, Dr. Morris disobeyed and went public stating that he could find no evidence that this swine virus was dangerous, or that it would spread from human to human. He then warned that the vaccine was dangerous and might induce hypersensitivity and most concerning, it may induce neurological side effects. What’s more, the vaccine’s efficacy appeared to be comparatively low. He was fired for insubordination. By Oct. 1976, 33 people had died after receiving the Swine Flu vaccine, by Dec. there were 500 cases of Guillain-Barre. But public health officials publicly denied that there was any relationship between any of the deaths or serious adverse effects and the vaccine.

In 1987, Dr. Morris testified before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means indicating that by Aug. 1982, there were 1,571 lawsuits filed people who had suffered serious adverse reactions to the swine flu vaccine. Of these, 290 had been settled for $57,000,000; another 693 were still pending at a possible cost to the government of $1,027,000.000. He testified:

These figures give some idea of the consequences resulting from a program in which the Federal government assumes liability of a product known to produce in an indeterminate number of recipients, serious damage to health . . . when I left the Food and Drug Administration in 1976, there was no available technique to measure reliably and consistently neurotoxicity or potency of most of the vaccines then in use, including DPT vaccines. Today, 11 years later, the situation remains essentially the same.

There is a great deal of evidence to prove that immunization of children does more harm than good.

Read “Fighting Hogwash” — Dr. J. Anthony Morris, in Just a Little Prick by Peter and Hilary Butler, 2006.

Dr. Morris died at age 95, May 31, 2014. His obituary in The Washington Post.