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FDA Commissioner ROBERT CALIFF Says ‘Misinformation Is Now Our Leading Cause of Death’


During a Q&A on Friday, April 29 at Health Journalism 2022 in Austin, Texas FDA head Dr. Robert M. Califf said he believes “that misinformation is now our leading cause of death.”


On April 29, 2022 at the 2022 Health Journalism summit in Austin, Texas, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf told an audience of “healthcare journalists” that he believes that “misinformation is now our leading cause of death,” specifically referencing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and “the number of people taking Ivermectin” as two major problems.

“People are distracted and misled by the medical information Tower of Babel,” Califf told the journalists in attendance at the summit. Califf, who is 70 years old and became the U.S. Commissioner of Food and Drugs—i.e. the head of the FDA—on February 17, 2022, added that “Historically, the FDA has been relatively quiet and puts out definitive information through guidance or labels or regulatory actions … that would be transmitted to consumers and patients through trusted intermediaries. But the world has changed at this point.”

In a recap of Califf’s speech at the summit, The Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) wrote that Califf argued this “medical information Tower of Babel” has “fueled the drop in life expectancy in the U.S. compared to other wealthy nations.” He then reportedly urged the journalists present to “avoid clickbait, lean into fact checking, make sure the headline matches the copy and take other steps to responsibly convey news about COVID-19 and other pressing health concerns.”

The AHCJ reported that Califf also discussed “the ongoing struggle to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for young children.” Indeed, in an audio clip posted to Twitter by the FDA on April 26, 2022 (above), Califf states:

“[I]t would be beyond my imagination that you would have a free vaccine that reduces your risk of death by 90%, and a substantial portion of our population would elect not to take it. And not only do I say it reduces it by 90%, we have phase 3 definitive randomized trial data and very definitive real-world evidence from practices in multiple countries and millions of people showing exactly the same thing. And yet, people are distracted by all sorts of information, twenty-four by seven.”

It is unclear where Califf is getting that headline 90% number from. Pfizer’s own trial data for its mRNA injection, for example, showed more deaths in the vaccinated arm of its study than the placebo arm. Indeed, out of 38 deaths during the study period, 17 of them were in the placebo group, while 21 were in the group that received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine. Likewise, a new preprint in The Lancet from Professor Christine Stabell Benn at the University of Southern Denmark, et al. found that the mRNA injections had no statistical effect on all-cause mortality, and that, furthermore, they were clearly associated with a “cardiovascular danger signal.”

On May 5, 2022, the FDA also announced it had “limited the authorized use of the [Johnson & Johnson] COVID-19 Vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older for whom other authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate, and to individuals 18 years of age and older who elect to receive the [Johnson & Johnson] COVID-19 vaccine because they would otherwise not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

As of this writing, Califf hasn’t responded to the new guidance for the J&J vaccine.


Feature image: CVCTforum

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