Big Money Flows To US Charities Fueling Vaccine Misinformation

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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.

The organizations appeared to have capitalized on Covid-19 misinformation that experts say is eroding trust in all jabs and imperiling public health.

The cash influx has helped the groups deepen their political influence by boosting their ability to bankroll legislative and legal efforts to defend misinformation spreaders and weaken vaccine mandates in the United States, experts say.

Much of the donor information is shrouded in secrecy. CHD did not respond to AFP's request for comment.

But the trend illustrates "just how profitable antivax and Covid-19 misinformation and disinformation have been," David Gorski, a professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, wrote in a blog post.

"It would be one thing if these groups were doing nothing more than selling quackery, but they have become politically influential."_AFP

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