Vaccines, Prof Peter Hotez, Elon, Joe Rogan, & RFK Jr

For those pressed for time here is the TL;DR; (Too Long; Didn’t read) version – Prof Hotez is a public hero, Elon, Rogan, and especially RFK Jnr are ignorant assholes. Vaccines work really well and have transformed humanity.

OK, if you are still with me, then let’s get into it.

Robert Kennedy Jnr

Joe Rogan recently had Anti-science Vaccine denialist and 2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his show. Kennedy did his usual thing and proceeded to promote lies about vaccines.

Kennedy has long deep dark history of stuff like this. In his published book, he has literally hundreds of pages where he repeats HIV/AIDS denialism. He also has been a fanatical anti-vaccine advocate long before any of us had heard about COVID.

To be clear, the anti-vaccine stuff he comes out with is not scientific and has no credible evidence.

Example: Kennedy claims vaccines cause autism – they really don’t. Let me make that wholly and completely clear – anybody claiming there is a link is lying to you. This particular claim originated with Andrew Wakefield publishing an article in the Lancet. He had falsified the data. It was later revealed that he was motivated by money. His goal was to discredit the MMR vaccine so that he could have his own alternative vaccine. When it was all revealed, the UK’s medical register conducted a very comprehensive review and struck him off their register. He has since those days fled to the US where to finds an audience that enables him to grift an income.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate conducted a study in 2021 and discovered that there were just 12 people wholly responsible for up to 65% of anti-vaccine content on social media platforms, Kennedy was No.2 on that list.

The bottom line is this – if Kennedy is saying something about vaccines, then you can more or less guarantee that he is lying. That’s because he continues to promote claims that he knows are false because they have been rather robustly debunked to his face many times.

Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD

Having listened to Kennedy trot out more lies, a deeply knowledgeable subject matter expert, Professor Peter Hotez proceeded to criticise him …

This is who he is …

  • Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology
  • Co-Director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development
  • Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine
  • B.A. (magna cum laude) from Yale University
  • Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University
  • M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College

As for Kennedy and his expertise, his only claim is that he is RFKs son.

Meanwhile, Joe Rogan has clapped back with this …

… and even Elon joined in and soon faced a rebuttal …

Meanwhile, the anti-vaccine advocates have been claiming that all of us who took the COVID vaccine will any day now drop dead because of it, on the basis of no evidence at all. The utter tragedy here, the truth as observed by Peter, is that over 200,000 Americans died because they believed the Anti-vaccine advocates and refused the vaccine.

You don’t hear them complaining about not having the vaccine“, some might quip. Well yes, dead people tend not to complain.

Prof Peter Hotez is in it just for the money


He is responsible for low cost, patient free vaccines …

Why not do the debate then?

He explained the challenges with such public debates during a recent interview and also laid out the details in a series of tweets …

1/n Many thanks ⁦@mehdirhasan⁩ ⁦@MehdiHasanShow⁩ for hosting me this evening I explained the problems of “debating” science on Joe Rogan with RFK Jr and there are several.

2/n first science is not something that is typically debated like say 18th enlightenment philosophy or political issues. That’s not typically what we do

3/n I said maybe there are exceptions but generally science is conducted through peer-review and manuscript submissions or presentations at scientific conferences and meetings in front of colleagues for suggestions or in some cases concerns.

4/n I’m not even certain I know how to “debate” in this case. And then there is the particular problem of debating RFK Jr on this. I have spoken to him over the years and I’m willing to speak to him again, but it’s not easy…

5/n he tends to move the goalposts on his specific concerns about vaccines. For instance even in the autism space it was MMR, then thimerosal, then spacing vaccines, then alum, then something called “chronic illness” and now the stakes are higher..

6/n because 40,000 Texans needlessly perished during our delta BA.1 waves in 2021 and 2022 because they became victims to coordinated antivaccine disinformation. On a national scale I put that number around 200,000 with similar estimates from @charles_gaba @KFF others.

7/n so antivaccine activism is now a lethal societal force. I would be willing to come on Joe Rogan and speak to him to solve problems as I’ve done X2 before, or do something with Elon on Twitter. Possibly that might be useful

Here is a part of that interview …

Who are you going to get your medical information from?

Many do indeed get it …


How dare he attack Parents of all the kids who became Autistic after being vaccinated, has he got no compassion“, some might dare to quip.

Prof Peter Hotez is a parent of a daughter with Autism. As a vaccine expert he also knows that Autism is not caused by vaccines, and literally wrote the book on it … “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad “. In it he persuasively provides evidence for the genetic basis of autism, and debunks the common anti-vax claims.

The crazy thing about the various anti-vaccine claims is that there is not even a correlation between vaccines and autism …

What there is rather solid evidence for is that one of the most successful medical interventions ever created by humans has been vaccinations.

The abundant of evidence for this is right there.

Polio …

Measles …

Covid …

Lots of the tin foil hat brigade acknowledge that COVID deaths are reduced by the vaccine but claim an increase in all cause mortality. In fact the opposite is true: COVID vaccination was associated with LOWER all cause mortality & non-COVID mortality.

There is plenty more of the same for many other diseases.

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HiB, Meningococcus, for most of us, are now no longer a concern.

Smallpox anybody? Totally eradicated.

The world was once a very different place. Life has been utterly transformed by the rise of vaccines.

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