How Much Do You Know About Vaccination?

By Vernon Coleman

You can find the answers to this simple quiz at the bottom of the page.

  1. When the first practical polio vaccine was made in the 1950s, monkey kidney tissue was used. It was not realised that one of the viruses commonly found in monkey kidney cells can cause cancer in humans. The American government was warned of this but the doctor who gave the warning was ignored and her laboratory was closed down. How many people, who were vaccinated in the 1950s and 1960s, are now at risk at developing cancer because of that vaccine?
  2. Between 1960 and 1981, nine reports were published assessing the risk of brain damage after the whooping cough vaccination. The reports produced figures between 1 in 6,000 and 1 in 100,000. The Government, not surprisingly chose the figure of 1 in 100,000. The Government has paid out compensation to large numbers of vaccine damaged children. In the decade after 1979, the figures show that less than 100 children were killed by whooping cough but 800 sets of parents were given compensation because children were brain damaged by the vaccine. How much compensation were parents given to begin with?
  3. What research has been done to measure the collective effect of all the vaccines which are given to children? And in particular to assess the effect on their immune systems?
  4. Why did Edward Jenner (commonly regarded as the ‘father’ of vaccination), not have his second child vaccinated against smallpox?
  5. What happened to the incidence of polio in America after the introduction of mass immunisation?



  1. 17 million (including me).
  2. £10,000
  3. None that I have been able to find.
  4. His first son, who had the vaccine, was mentally retarded and died at the age of 21.
  5. It rose by 50%