BACK TO THE FUTURE: Following is an article from the historical archives of The Vaccine Reaction newspaper journal. It was published in May 1995.
Investigating why large numbers of Romanian children were coming down with polio disease after being vaccinated with live oral polio vaccine (OPV), officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that if children were injected with a shot of antibiotics within one month of receiving OPV, they were eight times more likely to come down with polio than children who were not given an injection of antibiotics.
In a study published in the Feb. 23, 1995 New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that if OPV was followed by two injections of antibiotics, the risk of vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis increased 27-fold. With 10 or more antibiotic injections following OPV, the risk of developing polio was 182 times greater than expected.
Polio Vaccine Virus May Enter Nerve Endings
The weakened strain of live poliovirus used in OPV can survive for a month or more in the intestinal tract where it can sometimes revert to a more virulent “wild type” form capable of causing disease. CDC investigators speculated that the problem emerged in Romania because, unlike in the U.S., Romanian doctors frequently give antibiotics by injection rather than in liquid form. The investigators speculated that when the muscle is injured during an injection, it may allow the live polio vaccine virus to get into the nerve endings where it can cause the disease.
[Researchers concluded that, “Provocation paralysis, previously described only for wild-type poliovirus infection, may rarely occur in a child who receives multiple intramuscular injections shortly after exposure to oral poliovirus vaccine, either as a vaccine recipient or through contact with a recent recipient. This phenomenon may explain the high rate of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis in Romania, where the use of intramuscular injections of antibiotics in infants with febrile illness is common.]1
1 Strebel PM, Ion-Nedelcu N et al. Intramuscular Injections within 30 Days of Immunization with Oral Polio Virus Vaccine – A Risk Factor for Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis. N Engl J Med 1995; 332: 500-506.