Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaccine advocate, is running for president as a Democrat. Our SciCheck team has combed through his recent interviews to identify and correct some of his most common health claims in a three-part series. In this first installment, we address several of his talking points about vaccines.
Vaccination and infection both provide protective immunity to COVID-19, particularly against severe disease. But gaining immunity through infection is far riskier than vaccination. Posts citing a new Lancet study omit that important context and also misleadingly claim the study shows immunity after infection is superior to vaccination immunity.
Government health agencies disclosed a potential safety concern for strokes in those 65 and older with one of the COVID-19 vaccines, but the agencies haven’t found any causal relationship and the concern was flagged by just one of several monitoring systems. Anti-vaccine campaigners, however, have wrongly claimed the agencies have found a link between the boosters and strokes.
What appear to be ordinary postmortem blood clots are held up in a viral online video as supposed evidence that there’s a depopulation plot underway using COVID-19 vaccination to kill people. There’s no evidence for this theory. The hourlong video also repeats numerous falsehoods that have previously been debunked.
A Pfizer document recently released by the Food and Drug Administration describes adverse events reported following vaccination and attests to the continued safety of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. A popular video and other online posts, however, incorrectly imply that the vaccine caused the events.
A COVID-19 booster dose increases protection against the coronavirus. But in an interview, comedian Bill Maher incorrectly said COVID-19 booster shots were “useless” and could cause “immune system fatigue.” Online, others have made similar claims. There is no basis for the notion that the immune system would tire out, even after repeated boosters.