Health Viewpoints

A New Book Exposes Hard Truths About Vaccines

BY Jennifer Margulis TIMESeptember 21, 2022 PRINT

Over the past two and a half years, public health officials instituted economy-crashing lockdowns and extensive vaccination campaigns. These draconian measures, we were told, would keep SARS-CoV-2 from spreading and keep people from overwhelming the hospitals and dying of the virus.

Despite these promises, as early as April of 2022, the majority of American adults had already contracted the virus.

And at that point, death rates from the pandemic were higher in the United States than in any other developed nation, according to researchers from the Yale School of Public Health.

So, the CDC changed their COVID guidelines in early August 2022, removing the recommendation for quarantine after exposure and changing the recommendation to test daily to a recommendation to test only once, on the fifth day after exposure.

The new guidelines further specify that people who are vaccinated and people who are not vaccinated should follow the same protocols, likely reflecting the fact that being vaccinated doesn’t reduce your risk of contracting severe COVID.

This is virtually the opposite of what was predicted by President Joseph Biden and the White House COVID-19 Response Team last December when they claimed that unvaccinated Americans would face a “winter of severe illness, death,” whereas vaccinated Americans would be virus-free.

The result of the mismanagement of the pandemic, surging infection rates, and ongoing reports of vaccine safety issues have led more people than ever before to question current public health policies.

At the same time, many want to believe that COVID vaccines are the only injections that are cause for concern. We are sure that the recommended childhood vaccine schedule, on the other hand, is safe.

But now a book just published in English, “Turtles All the Way Down: Vaccine Science and Myth,” penned by anonymous Israeli-based authors, questions the safety, efficacy, and necessity of the entire recommended childhood vaccination schedule.

Safety Science of Childhood Vaccines Analyzed

Translated from Hebrew, “Turtles All the Way Down: Vaccine Science and Myth,” explains that vaccine safety rests on three scientific pillars.

The first pillar is the pre-licensure clinical trials. The second pillar is adverse event collection and reporting, a process to catch safety signals that elude detection during the clinical trial stage. And the third is post-licensure studies. Post-licensure studies are intended to tease out whether a particular adverse event is caused by a vaccine or not.

This book argues, however, that all three pillars are defective.

Safety Claims Rest on Thin Air

The book’s title comes from an apocryphal story of a wise scientist encountering an older woman after one of his lectures.

The woman challenges the scientist’s rational view of the world, saying that the world really rests on the back of a giant turtle.

“But what’s under the turtle?” the scientist asks. “Another turtle,” she replies.

And what’s at the bottom? he questions. The woman answers: “Why, it’s turtles all the way down!”

This story is generally used to bolster scientists’ opinion of themselves as rational thinkers who must explain their ideas to a credulous, superstitious, and often naive public. But the authors of this book cleverly turn this story on its head, demonstrating that, when it comes to vaccines, those concerned about vaccine safety are actually making rational and evidence-based assertions, not the “experts” defending vaccines.

In fact, it is public health’s assurances about vaccine safety, according to this new book, that rest on nothing but turtles all the way down.

Vaccine Clinical Trials: Defective by Design?

In the scientific community, the gold standard for testing a new drug is the double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial.

“Placebo-controlled” means that in addition to the test group which receives the experimental drug, there should be a control group that receives an inert placebo. “Inert” means that the placebo should not have any effect of its own on the body. The easiest and cheapest placebo for a vaccine trial would be a dose of saline: salt water.

“Randomized” means that the trial participants are randomly assigned to the test group or the control group, and “double-blind” means that neither the researchers nor the test subjects themselves know whether the compound administered is the test vaccine or the placebo.

With a placebo control group, one can attribute virtually all of both the positive and negative outcomes in the test group to the drug being tested. Not only is this perfect for determining vaccine efficacy—an injection of salt water cannot significantly affect the body’s ability to fight off an infection—such a comparison is also the easiest and clearest way to determine how many adverse events the vaccine will cause.

So, if—as we are constantly told—childhood vaccines were truly clinically tested to the highest standard of safety, each vaccine on the childhood schedule should have at least one large clinical trial comparing it to a placebo control.

The authors of “Turtles All The Way Down” went looking for those trials. They didn’t find a single one.

That is correct. Not one vaccine the CDC recommends for children under 2 has ever been safety tested against an inert placebo.

Instead, in vaccine clinical trials the so-called control group receives another vaccine (or even multiple vaccines) or an injection of just the vaccine adjuvant itself without the vaccine antigen.

But, as the authors point out, adjuvants used in vaccines are not inert. The most common adjuvant, aluminum, has a particularly concerning safety record. Consider this: the reason aluminum is in the vaccines in the first place is because it triggers strong immune reactions, stronger than a reaction to the antigen alone. Removing the antigen portion of a vaccine, instead of using saline, in no way makes it a placebo.

The book goes on to demonstrate that adverse event reporting, too, is deliberately inadequate, as are the studies that are performed after the vaccines are approved for the general public.

Chapter Five will be of particular interest to the science-minded reader. It examines five typical epidemiological studies that purported demonstrated vaccine safety. This chapter points out the design flaws that render the studies’ conclusions invalid at best.

Vaccines Reconsidered

This book’s argument, that vaccine safety science is poorly designed, inconclusive, and biased, is so convincing that it makes the reader start to be concerned that no vaccine can be legitimately declared “safe.”

But if we stopped vaccinating children, we have been told, infectious disease would come roaring back. Vaccines provide protection against diseases. We must all do our part to protect ourselves and also, perhaps more importantly, to protect our neighbors. After all, vaccines saved us from many deadly scourges, like smallpox and polio. Right?

“Turtles All the Way Down,” again citing only mainstream scientific sources, neatly calls those arguments into question as well. This is a big book—518 pages—on a huge subject. It was originally published in Hebrew in 2018 but is now available to English language readers.

In the meantime, it has been generating some much-needed discussion and debate about the safety, efficacy, and necessity of childhood vaccines.

When it first came out, the Israel medical journal, Harefuah, published a positive review, written by two criminologists.

“In conclusion, we sincerely recommend the ‘Turtles’ book as a scientific, medical and public ‘must read,’” the reviewers wrote. “This book should receive its rightful place so that a scientific, rational, logical, skeptic and critical discussion on routine vaccination can take place. This book is needed so we can correct medical science where it falls short. In a proper world medicine and science do not fear the truth even if it means mistakes have happened along the way.”

In response, Science magazine ran a hit piece on the journal’s editor, Yehuda Shoenfeld. The article accused Shoenfeld, an internationally known physician and one of the world’s foremost experts on autoimmune diseases, of promoting “anti-vaccine” views and called for his resignation and an investigation.

The authors of “Turtles All the Way Down” chose to publish their book anonymously. Even the book’s two American editors, Zoey O’Toole and Mary Holland, claim not to know who they are. When you can’t refute the message, you kill the messenger. But that tactic did not work so well for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Perhaps the authors are staying anonymous because they did not want to undergo the character assassination attempts that were likely to follow.

Or perhaps they have chosen to remain out of the limelight for a different reason. When an argument is so strong that it can’t be refuted, a critic’s only recourse is to attack the person making the argument. Anonymity takes that tactic off the table. In this case, critics will have to take issue with the book’s content—something we believe they will find very hard to do.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of “Your Baby, Your Way: Taking Charge of Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting Decisions for a Happier, Healthier Family.” A Fulbright awardee and mother of four, she has worked on a child survival campaign in West Africa, advocated for an end to child slavery in Pakistan on prime-time TV in France, and taught post-colonial literature to non-traditional students in inner-city Atlanta. Learn more about her at
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