Controversial claim based on reporting from CDC database

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson Nov. 15, 2021 (Screen capture)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., known for his activism against vaccines of all kinds, drew sharp rebukes from critics when he claimed in an interview with Tucker Carlson that the COVID-19 vaccines are deadlier than all vaccines combined over the past 30 years.

Kennedy, in a segment of a Fox Nation interview that Carlson aired on his nightly Fox News program Monday, cited data from the Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, known as VAERS.

“There have been 17,000 deaths reported to VAERS from the COVID vaccines,” said Kennedy, the son of the former attorney general and New York senator and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

“And that’s more, in the last eight months, than all vaccines – the billions and billions of vaccines – combined over the past 30 years. This vaccine appears to be killing more people than all vaccines combined.”

Health and Human Services points out that a VAERS report is not documentation that a link has been established between a vaccine and an adverse event. However, HHS also notes that VAERS is a “passive” system of reporting, and it “receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events.”

Many health care workers have disclosed they are instructed by their superiors not to report to VAERS any harm caused by COVID vaccines.

Kennedy argued in the interview that physicians have a disincentive to report any negative consequences of a vaccine they advocate for their patients.

The organization Kennedy founded, Children’s Health Defense, says it’s not against vaccines but raises issues about their safety.

Kennedy famously has claimed that mercury in vaccines has “caused an autism epidemic,” drawing the ire of immunologists and health-care professionals.

See Kennedy discuss vaccine deaths:

The media news site Mediaite called Kennedy’s claim about vaccine deaths “nutso” in its headline.

Mediaite cited Dr. Pradheep J. Shanker, a radiologist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who said in a May interview that Tucker Carlson was not providing an accurate assessment of the vaccine deaths reported by VAERS.

“VAERS was intended to cast a wide net to capture any possible or potential complication that even has the remotest possibility of being related to the vaccine. Any adverse event is considered reportable,” Shanker said. “This ranges from direct symptoms, such as fevers or hematomas, to events such as death from blunt trauma in a car accident (which, of course, is highly unlikely to be related to the vaccine).

He said Carlson “did nothing to filter out which deaths were expected with or without the vaccine, and which deaths can be tied to the vaccine.” And critics of the vaccines, the doctor said, “often omit, however, is the fact that the Covid vaccine was first administered to the oldest and most medically vulnerable people nearly a year ago.”

However, the website OpenVAERS, which compiles summaries of the data on VAERS, points to an analysis known as the “Lazarus Report,” which concluded VAERS represents for only 1% of vaccine injuries.

As of Nov. 5, the VAERS count of COVID vaccine deaths was 18,461. The total vaccine adverse events was 1,720,302.

See Kennedy discuss autism:


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