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'They never said you won't get COVID!' Howie Mandel challenges RFK Jr. on vaccine efficacy
Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images/Image via Howie Mandel Does Stuff/YouTube (screenshot)

'They never said you won't get COVID!' Howie Mandel challenges RFK Jr. on vaccine efficacy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had a lively exchange with television host and podcaster Howie Mandel surrounding claims in the media that were made about the efficacy of COVIID-19 vaccines. Mandel argued that the messaging was not as misleading as Kennedy was making it out to be.

On Mandel's "Howie Mandel Does Stuff" podcast, Kennedy attempted explained that the claims that were made after clinical COVID-19 vaccine trials were not transparent.

Mandel acknowledged that there was an at-risk group of obese, ill, or older people who were more likely to need vaccination.

Kennedy described Pfizer's clinical trial.

"The clinical trial study, you had 22,000 people who took the vaccine and 22,000 people got the placebo, and what the result was after six months, they had to hand that data to FDA in order to get the emergency use authorization," Kennedy began. "That data showed that in the vaccine group there was one COVID death of 22,000 people over six months; in the unvaccinated group there were two COVID deaths of 22,000 people, so that allowed the company to tell the public the vaccine is 100% effective."

"That's a misnomer," Mandel quickly replied. "100% effective in as far as ... because I saw people on the news going 'well, I got the vaccine, I still got COVID.' They never said you won't get COVID; they just said that it'll kind of pull back the severity of it."

Kennedy then reiterated, "What they're saying, out of 22,000 people there was one COVID death among the vaccinated and there was two COVID deaths on the unvaccinated 22,000 people, and that allowed them to claim it's 100% effective."

"Effective for what? You can't use the word effective," Mandel exclaimed.

"You remember they kept saying it's 100% effective?" Kennedy asked.

"No, they just said it will negate the severity. ... The word 'effective' didn't say you won't get [it], I never heard 'you won't get COVID,'" Mandel added.

"It's not 100% effective, okay, because if that's the metric, what they really should have been telling us is that to prevent one COVID death, they need to give 22,000 vaccines."

Mandel later summarized his position by explaining that many of the decisions made by the establishment were rushed due to panic.

"I believe a lot of mistakes were made, but we were panicked, and you know, we made decisions based on the amount of information that we had at the moment," he said, adding that guidance evolved as more information came to fruition.

The TV-panel judge also plainly asked Kennedy if he was "anti-vaccine," to which the politician replied, "If you show me a vaccine that was safe and effective, that did what it was supposed to do, I would have no problem with it."


Mandel, a longtime comedian, has continually stepped out of his typical element in recent months to support free speech and open commentary.

In December 2023 Mandel appeared on the popular comedy podcast "Kill Tony" and praised the show for its free speech mentality.

"There's no such thing as political correctness; it's comedy! And now I live in L.A. and it's it's tough. I can't say what I want to say," he explained. "Only you give people a platform to do it right. It's funny, it's raw, [the audience isn't] recording it, you can say anything on this show!" he yelled.

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