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No, vaccines did not kill 17 million people | COVID-19: everything about the pandemic

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan10,2024

No, vaccines did not cause 17 million deaths | COVID-19: everything about the pandemic

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Vaccination against COVID-19 helps reduce the risk of complications from the disease.

  • Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski (View profile) Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski

Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, allows to generate a spoken text from a written text.

The COVID-19 vaccination campaign has not led to millions of deaths, as a former University of Ottawa professor claimed in an interview with the show by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Network to participate in the show Infowars by Alex Jones. The appearance came three days after Tucker Carlson's show discussed Mr. Rancourt's claims that COVID-19 vaccines have caused at least 17 million deaths worldwide.

In his lengthy interview with Mr. Jones, Denis Rancourt referred to his approximately 180-page analysis published in September 2023.

Called to react the day after this declaration, the epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Raywat Deonandan, does not mince his words. This is a ridiculous analysis and is why it has never been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal. It was published on some site. It's not science.

First, he emphasizes that Mr. Rancourt, who has training in physics, is not a expert neither in medicine nor in epidemiology.

COVID-19: all about the pandemic

Consult the complete file

COVID-19: all about the pandemic

Consult the complete file


Let us point out that Mr. Rancourt was dismissed from the University of Ottawa in 2009 because he allegedly gave fraudulent grades to 23 of his students. He contested his dismissal before a labor relations arbitrator, but lost his case.

He was also dismissed by the Superior Court after being sued for defamation.

Mr. Rancourt now says he is one of three associate researchers for the CORRELATION group – Research in the Public Interest, a group that says it conducts interdisciplinary scientific research.

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Denis Rancourt in discussion with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

According to Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta, this bizarre analysis […] goes against all reliable data as well as the experience of people who have suffered due to COVID-19.

According to the World Health Organization (New window), COVID-19 has killed at least 7 million people since the start of the pandemic. However, numerous studies (New window) which analyze excess mortality estimate that this number is underestimated and that the toll would easily exceed 14 million deaths.

COVID-19 is also largely responsible for the decline in life expectancy around the world, according to several studies.

I think when people hear 17 million [deaths] and they see a big document and graphs, they think maybe we should believe that, but there are a lot of problems with that analysis, says Dr. Saxinger.

To arrive at the number of 17 million deaths from vaccination, Mr. Rancourt says he used excess mortality data because he is the most reliable data to detect and epidemiologically characterize events causing death and to assess the impact at the population level.

If it is true that excess mortality makes it possible to better calculate the number of deaths due to COVID-19, the interpretation made by Mr. Rancourt is absurd and erroneous, says Dr. Deonandan.

The epidemiologist has difficulty understanding why Mr. Rancourt studied only 17 countries to arrive at this estimate, when other data exists. Note that the countries chosen by Mr. Rancourt are all located in the Southern Hemisphere, where the mortality rate due to COVID-19 is very high. It's very convenient, he criticizes.

He adds that Mr. Rancourt also ignores all the data before the arrival of vaccines , which nevertheless show a very high excess mortality at the start of the pandemic (New window).

According to Dr. Deonandan, numerous studies, published in scientific journals, have shown that excess mortality curves follow (New window) almost exactly the infection curves. COVID-19 is the cause of this excess mortality, not vaccines.

And above all, criticizes Dr. Deonandan, his analysis does not take into account the status vaccination of deceased people. So how can he say with certainty that these deaths were caused by vaccines, when he doesn't even know if the person had been vaccinated?

According to Dr. Saxinger, Mr. Rancourt's analysis is simply based on the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic never existed.

This is the crucial element. It completely ignores the possibility that the deaths were caused by COVID-19, says Dr. Deonandan.

His analysis denies that COVID-19 has caused a pandemic.

A quote from Dr. Lynora Saxinger, infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta

In fact, in his interview, Mr. Rancourt maintains that all past pandemics, including that of 1918 (Spanish flu), were not caused by respiratory viruses. He calls pandemics propaganda.

Dr. Saxinger adds that Mr. Rancourt has made other erroneous statements about COVID-19 in the past. In particular, he conveyed false information (New window) concerning the usefulness of the mask in preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

In an email, Mr. Rancourt disputes the assertion that he denies the existence of the pandemic. Furthermore, Mr. Rancourt says he has analyzed data from more than 100 countries, even if his analysis only mentions 17. He claims that his analysis would have been accepted by a medical journal (without specifying which one) for publication in the next month.

For Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Texas ;Alberta, it is remarkable that this type of falsehood continues to circulate.

However, Mr. Rancourt's analysis has been denied numerous times, notably by AFP (New window) and the BBC (New window).

After the publication of Mr. Rancourt's interview with Infowars, Timothy Caulfield made a point of listing on his X account around ten studies which demonstrate that vaccines have saved millions of lives.

Among these studies is that of the University of Minnesota (New window), which shows that vaccines saved 2.4 million people in the first eight months of vaccination. He cites two other studies (New window) which draw the same conclusion. And those published in Nature (New window) and in The Lancet (New window) show that vaccination against COVID-19 reduces the risk of death.

In fact, more lives could have been saved if vaccines had been distributed more equitably and quickly. It would also have helped reduce the burden on health systems and mitigate the risks of long COVID, Caulfield says.

Timothy Caulfield and Dr. Saxinger is saddened that people still choose to ignore the mountain of evidence and data.

It seems these people are not trust no expert, health professional, public health agency or government, says Dr. Saxinger. She consoles herself by indicating that these people are only a minority, even if they occupy a large space on social networks.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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