YouTube has again suspended Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) channel over a roundtable that featured people who say they were injured by COVID-19 vaccines and experts discussing the shots.
“For the 5th time this year, YouTube is censoring me from telling you the truth. This time they don’t want you to hear 3.5 hours of stories from doctors, scientists, and the vaccine injured,” Johnson said in a statement.
The roundtable stretched for nearly four hours. It included multiple people who say they suffered severe side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, including Theresa Long, an Army lieutenant colonel, and several experts, including Dr. Peter Doshi, an associate professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
A YouTube spokesperson told The Hill that the suspension stemmed from Johnson citing statistics from the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System, a passive system run by federal authorities. Public health officials have repeatedly encouraged Americans to submit possible adverse events to the system for review.
Johnson noted that there have been over 17,600 reports of post-COVID vaccination deaths submitted to the system, which is well above the number for every other type of vaccine combined.
“These vaccine injuries are real,” he said.
“We craft our policies to reduce the risk of real-world harm, updating them as official guidance evolves, and we consider the context of a video to make exceptions that balance open discussion of people’s experiences with preventing the spread of harmful misinformation,” the YouTube spokesperson said.
YouTube also took issue with a participant wondering whether COVID-19 vaccines prevent death. The company appeared to be talking about Bob Kaplan, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health and Medicine, and a former National Institutes of Health official.
Kaplan told the roundtable that he supports vaccines and has gotten a COVID-19 vaccine himself but that he is concerned about “research integrity, and the process used to authorize, approve, and mandate vaccines during this emergency.”
Kaplan said he analyzed the data from the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials and found the death rates were identical between those who got a jab and those who got a placebo. He also called for more transparency from vaccine makers and from federal health officials.
Multiple participants questioned COVID-19 vaccine mandates, noting that the protection from the shots against infection has dropped sharply as time goes on, and that it’s also slipping against severe disease and hospitalization.
Johnson invited the heads of the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health agencies to the roundtable, but none accepted the offer.