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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Antivax Bucks

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

 Rob Lever, Anuj Chopra and Marisha Goldhamer at AFP:

An anti-vaccine group founded by US presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy Jr raised millions of dollars during the coronavirus pandemic, tax records show, boosting its coffers as it ramped up what experts call dangerous health misinformation.

Children's Health Defense (CHD), repeatedly called out for promoting vaccine falsehoods, collected about $46 million between 2020 and 2022, roughly 10 times its revenue in the three years preceding the pandemic.

CHD and four other non-profit organizations collectively raked in more than $100 million during that period, public tax records compiled by investigative news site ProPublica show.


CHD, which raked in $23.5 million in 2022 alone, has risen to become one of the world's top "alternative and natural medicine" websites, according to digital intelligence company Similarweb.


Kennedy, a longtime vaccine skeptic, received about $510,000 in compensation for serving as CHD's chairman in 2022 -- more than double his pre-pandemic salary, records show.

The 70-year-old Kennedy is on leave from that role as he pursues his third-party presidential bid.


 Other well-funded anti-vaccine groups include Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), which pulled in $13.4 million in 2022, compared to just $1.4 million in 2017, public records show.

The group's founder Del Bigtree, who was hired by Kennedy to be his presidential campaign's communications director, was a vocal critic of masking during the pandemic and touted unproven Covid-19 treatments on his podcast.