From The Memory Hole

Fauci: ‘All Hell’ Can ‘Break Loose’ Years Later Without Long-Term Vaccine Safety Testing (1999)

The NIAID Director explained in a PBS documentary that it can look like "everything's fine" with a vaccine for a long time, only for major issues to become apparent as many as "twelve years" later

On February 2, 1999, PBS aired a documentary called Surviving AIDS. Produced as part of their long-running NOVA series, the program featured interviews with prominent scientists and government officials in the field, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was then—as he is now—director of NSAID.

During a particularly noteworthy segment, the narrator says that “many scientists are beginning to believe that a vaccine against AIDS may be impossible to make and too dangerous to test.”

PBS then cuts directly to a clip of Fauci, who says:

“If you take it, and then a year goes by and everybody’s fine, then you say, OK, that’s good, now let’s give it to 500 people; and then a year goes by and everything’s fine. You say, Well, then, now let’s give it to thousands of people, and then you find out that it takes twelve years for all hell to break loose, and then what have you done?”



Vaccines take years to develop and test. This was a well-understood and acknowledged reality prior to 2020—and even during the first half of that year.

A New York Times article published in April of 2020, just weeks after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, attempted to provide some perspective regarding what it called the “rosy” notion that a vaccine could be ready even within 18 months. Authored by a NYT tech reporter, it included the following chart, and explained that the “record for developing an entirely new vaccine is at least four years.” Most vaccines, it pointed out, take much longer.

“As a rule, researchers don’t begin jabbing people with experimental vaccines until after rigorous safety checks,” the article explained. “They test the vaccine first on small batches of people — a few dozen during Phase 1, then a few hundred in Phase 2, then thousands in Phase 3. Months normally pass between phases so that researchers can review the findings and get approvals for subsequent phases.”

Other points that were made:

  • Clinical trials “almost never succeed,” with “less than 10 percent” of pharma products that enter clinical trials ultimately “ever” getting approved by the FDA
  • HIV vaccines have been under development for almost 40 years, yet all we “have to show for” our efforts is “a few Phase 3 clinical trials, one of which actually made the disease worse, and another with a success rate of just 30 percent.”
  • Although it’s “unlikely” that SARS-Cov-2 would take that long (because it “doesn’t appear to mutate significantly” and “exists within a family of familiar respiratory viruses”), we’ve similarly “never released a coronavirus vaccine for humans before.”
  • mRNA jabs are “new and untested treatments
  • mRNA jabs are “riskier than other established approaches

Reminder: This is the New York Times — not an “anti-vax” website. This was admitted, mainstream knowledge at the time.

The article further asks us to “imagine that the fateful day arrives” where “scientists have created a successful vaccine.” The next thing that has to happen is FDA approval, which, it says, cannot be rushed:

F.D.A. approvals are no mere formality. Approvals typically take a full year, during which time scientists and advisory committees review the studies to make sure that the vaccine is as safe and effective as drug makers say it is. While some steps in the vaccine timeline can be fast-tracked or skipped entirely, approvals aren’t one of them. There are horror stories from the past where vaccines were not properly tested.

A short while later, the NYT piece speculates:

At this point you might be asking: Why are all these research teams announcing such optimistic forecasts when so many experts are skeptical about even an 18-month timeline? Perhaps because it’s not just the public listening — it’s investors, too.

“These biotechs are putting out all these press announcements,” said [Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine]. “You just need to recognize they’re writing this for their shareholders, not for the purposes of public health.”

In December of 2020, less than 8 months after this article was written, Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines were being injected into millions of people.

Even today, we are only about two years into this on-going experiment, with—by definition—no long-term safety testing.