Children’s Health Defense is a non profit organization that promotes anti vaccine propaganda and its one of the main sources of vaccine misinformation. It was originally founded under the name World Mercury Project in 2011.
The group is chaired by Robert F Kennedy, Jr. The name was changed to Children’s Health Defense in 2018. It became very influential due to who Robert F Kennedy Jr is.
They campaign against public health programs like vaccines, fluoridation of tap water, etc. They are a major cause of vaccine hesitation in the United States. They encourage citizens and legislators to support anti vaccine regulations and legislation. They are registered as a legal non profit organization.
The Children’s Health Defense claims that a large portion of American children are “suffering from conditions ” like autism, ADHD, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases due to exposure to chemical sand radiation. They blame the chemicals and radiation on fluoride, vaccines, pesticides, acetaminophen, aluminum, wireless phones and many others. This has caused law suits against various company in food in agriculture.
“The mission of Children’s Health Defense is to end the epidemics of chronic illness in children by eliminating harmful toxic exposures, holding those responsible accountable, and establishing safeguards so that this never happens again. Children’s Health Defense engages in three broad program areas: scientific research, landmark litigation, and science-based education and communication.”
The group’s annual revenue jumped from half a million dollars in 2015 to 1 million dollars in 2018. In 2020, with the help of thier misinformation about COVID 19, thier revenue jumped to 6.8 million dollars.
Children’s Health Defense receives a portion of the sales from Ty Bollinger’s anti vaccine video series, which is promoted by the group.
The group received $145,400 in federally backed small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program from JPMorgan Chase in 2020. Yes, they even scammed the federal government who they had been fighting the measures they have been taking to stop the spread of COVID 19.
According to the 2019 tax return of the group, Kennedy was paid $255,000 for his services to the group.
Board of Directors
Chairman: Robert Kennedy, Jr
President and General Coucil: Mary Holland, JD
President Emerita: Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN
Director: Brian Hooker
Director: Katie Wright
Director: Sheila Haley, PhD
Children’s Health Defense uses social media to spread their misinformation messaging. This targets young parents and minorities in the United States.
During COVID 19, their communications attempted to downplay the risk of COVID, in order to argue that the new vaccines are dangerous and to undermine the different health authorities. According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, this group is one of the leaders in the anti vaccine movement.
There was a study that found the Children’s Health Defense a major buyer of anti vaccine Facebook advertising in December of 2018 and February 2019. This target women and young couples. The advertising stressed the alleged risks of vaccines and asked for donations.
There was a law suit filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in August 2020 against Facebook and four fact checking services. The group said the viewers of some of the posts on vaccines, 5g wireless communications was reduced by 95% after they were labeled as misinformation.
The group argues that labeling them as misinformation amounts to censorship. They claim that the messages were presented as opinions rather than information and cannot be characterized as misinformation. The group was seeking $5 million in damages.
Instagram removed Kennedy’s account in February 2021, the group’s account still stands. They have over 300,000 followers between all platforms and is a very dangerous group.
Deceiving Minorities to Further Their Agenda
The Children’s Health Defense also targets Black Americans with linking the COVID 19 vaccine to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. This was blatant abuse but to use to to further their anti vaccine agenda is unethical. This is to get the Black community on the side of the anti vaxxers. They did this in thier film called
Medical Racism: The New Apartheid.” It is 57 minutes long.
A medical historian and Yale professor by the name of Naomi Rogers was asked to appear in a new documentary, she agreed but had no idea what it was about. She assumed her comments would end up in a straight forward documentary that addressed some of the concerns of the pandemic. This she assumed to include the legacy of racism in medicine and how that plays into mistrust in some communities of color. The focus wasn’t made clear to Rogers.
“We were talking about issues of racism and experimentation, and they seemed to be handled appropriately,” said Rogers. At the time there were few indications that anything was out of the ordinary, except for one. When asked who else was being interviewed, the director was very vague in his response.
“They said,”Well, there’s a guy in New York, and we talked to somebody in New Jersey and California,” recalled Rogers. “I thought it was odd that they wouldn’t the; me who these people were.”
Months later, she received an email from Children’s Health Defense about the film. She clicked and began to watch, she was shocked when she realized this was the film she sat down for. She was only in the film for 14 seconds but she did not want to be associated with anything like this.
*Personal note: I was in a documentary through Channel 4 in the UK and every step of the process I was made aware of and I was never in the dark about ANY of it.*
In this movie they even display a char claiming to use the same CDC data, obtained thought a Freedom of Information Act request, to make a connection between vaccinating Black children and autism probability. This chart closely resembles another study that is sometimes mentioned by anti vaxxers but the journal that it was published in retracted it. This study was directed by Brian S Hooker, a director on the Board of the Children’s Health Defense.
This film also mentions the 2014 study from the Mayo Clinic that shows Somali Americans and African Americans have a more robust immune response to rubella vaccine than Caucasians and Hispanic Americans. One person interviewed asks “SO if you have that process that could be caused by vaccines, why wouldn’t there be a link between vaccines and developmental delays?”
Measles Lawsuit NYC vs Children’s Health Defense
In April 2019, Kings County (Brooklyn) Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by Robert Krakow, Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Patricia Finn of Children’s Health Defense. They represented five parents of unvaccinated children protesting the vaccine mandate in New York City.
Judge Lawrence Knipel said that the arguments presented by the plaintiffs were no more than “unsupported, bald faced opinion.”
The Children’s Health Defense claims that the measles outbreaks was a “garden variety annual measles outbreak.” The judge said that this reaction was accessive. He pointed out that the documents filed as evidence demonstrated the opposite. He said that “the unvarnished truth is that these diagnoses represent the most significant spike in incidences of the measles in the United States in many years and that Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is at its epicenter. It has already begun to spread to remote locations.”
CHD Sues Rutgers University for Vaccine Mandate
On August 16, 2021, Children’s Health Defense filed a petition seeking a declaration that the portion of the Rutgers COVID 19 policy required students to be vaccinated prior to returning to campus is unlawful. They say that the policy is “illegal and unconstitutional.” They also said that it is “affront to human dignity and personal freedom because it violates our basic right to control our bodies.”
A federal judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order against Rutgers University manage that the students be vaccinated in order to return to college. Judge Zahid Quraishi ruled that the Children’s Health Defense and 14 students who filed action “cannot show the public interest is served” if the court issued the order.
“In fact, the public may be likely harmed if the court were to do so,” Quraishi wrote in his 15 page opinion document. “Specifically, it would place the health and safety of others inside and out of Rutgers community at risk.”
Children’s Health Defense Loses Social Media
Instagram and Facebook have suspended Children’s Health Defense around August 19, 2022. This is because Kennedy’s group repeatedly violated their community guidelines about misinformation about COVID 19.
Kennedy compared Facebook’s action to government censorship. He is missing that Facebook is a private company and they can set their own rules and refuse service to anyone. “Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the federal government’s crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies.”
Children’s Health Defense had hundreds of thousands of followers at the time of the suspension and they could and have caused real damage.
In light of this suspension, Children’s Health Defense is suing Facebook, because of course they are. The last lawsuit was dismissed. This one should not do anything but waste a court’s time.
Public health advocates, myself included, say that Facebook took way too long to do this. They have spread way too much misinformation about different conditions and caused real harm.
Karen Kornbluh, the director of the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative at the German Marshall Fund, said too many groups like CHD have been allowed to nourish on social media for too long. They are still on twitter. “Today’s step is too late too little.”
“We removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our policies,” said a spokesman for Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company told the Associated Press.
Even after this, several affiliates of CHD remain on the platforms. Kennedy was kicked off instagram in 2021 but has an active account one Facebook. They need to do better.