Sherri Tenpenny

Sherri J. Tenpenny is an American anti-vaccination activist who supports the disproven hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.[1] An osteopathic physician, she is the author of four books opposing vaccination. A 2015 lecture tour of Australia was canceled due to a public outcry over her views on vaccination, which oppose established scientific consensus.[1] A 2021 Center for Countering Digital Hate analysis concluded that Tenpenny is among the top twelve people spreading COVID-19 misinformation and pseudoscientific anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. She has falsely asserted the vaccines magnetize people and connect them with cellphone towers.[2][3][4]

Sherri Tenpenny
Short-haired blonde woman on a stage speaking into a headset microphone, wearing an animal stripe jacket with a bare lightbulb and draped cloth behind her
OccupationOsteopathic physician
Years active1986–present
Known forAnti-vaccine activism
Notable work
Saying No to Vaccines

Education and career

Tenpenny graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toledo in 1980 and received a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri in 1984.[5] From 1986 to 1998, Tenpenny was the director of the emergency department at Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, Ohio. She opened an osteopathic practice in 1994 and went on to establish two more practices in 1996 and 2011.[6]

Anti-vaccination activism

Tenpenny had scheduled a speaking tour in Australia to occur starting in February 2015, but in January, after objections were raised to her anti-vaccination views, all the venues at which she was scheduled to speak cancelled the talks, and the tour was called off.[7][8] Tenpenny has been criticized by the Stop The Australian Anti-Vaccination Network for "endangering people's health" and "targeting vulnerable parents".[6]

Since 2017, Tenpenny and her business partner, Matthew Hunt, have taught a six-week, $623 course titled "Mastering Vaccine Info Boot Camp" designed to "sow seeds of doubt" regarding public health information. During the course, Tenpenny explains her views on the immune system and vaccines, and Hunt instructs participants on how best to use persuasion tactics in conversation to communicate the information.[9]

Tenpenny promotes anti-vaccination videos sold by Ty and Charlene Bollinger and receives a commission whenever her referrals result in a sale,[10] a practice known as affiliate marketing.[11]

A Facebook page managed by Tenpenny was deactivated in December 2020 as part of the social network's efforts to reduce the amount of misinformation on the platform.[12] Nevertheless, a March 2021 analysis of Twitter and Facebook anti-vaccine content found Tenpenny to be one of 12 individual and organization accounts producing up to 65% of all anti-vaccine content across several social media platforms.[3] Some of Tenpenny's interviews with anti-vaccination activists and conspiracy theorists have attracted a large audience on Rumble, a video-sharing platform that does not have policies against disinformation.[13]

COVID-19 misinformation

Tenpenny advocated against the use of face coverings as a COVID-19 mitigation tool[14] despite scientific evidence in favor of their effectiveness.[15][16][17][18]

In a February 2021 video, Tenpenny claimed that COVID-19 vaccines cause death and autoimmune diseases, saying "Some people are going to die from the vaccine directly, but a large number of people are going to start getting horribly sick and get all kinds of autoimmune diseases, 42 days to maybe a year out." There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines cause autoimmune diseases or death.[19][20][21]

In an April 2021 BitChute video, Tenpenny reiterated claims that COVID-19 vaccines lack testing and led to long-term health effects. Neither statement contains scientific merit or accuracy.[22]

On May 17, 2021, Reuters issued a fact-check refuting Tenpenny's claim that COVID-19 vaccines affect sperm and fertility. The news organization reiterated that there is no scientific evidence to back these false claims.[23]

Called by Republicans as an expert witness before a June 2021 hearing of the Ohio House Health Committee, Tenpenny promoted the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause people to become magnetized such that metal objects stick to their bodies, adding "There’s been people who have long suspected that there’s been some sort of an interface, yet-to-be-defined interface, between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers."[24][25][26] The video of her testimony was widely circulated, and in early July 2021 Twitter permanently suspended Tenpenny's account for "violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy".[27][28] Her YouTube account was removed in September 2021 for breaking the company's policies on COVID-19 misinformation.[29]

Published works

  • Saying No to Vaccines: A Resource Guide for All Ages. Middleburg Heights, Ohio: NMA Media Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-97909-104-9.
  • FOWL! Bird Flu: It's Not What You Think. Sevierville, Tenn.: Insight Pub. Co. 2006. ISBN 978-1-93286-387-1.
  • The Risks, the Benefits, the Choices, a Resource Guide for Parents. Sevierville, Tenn.: Insight Publishing. 2006. ISBN 978-0-97434-482-9.
  • A Healthier You!. Sevierville, Tenn.: Insight Publishing. 2005. ISBN 978-1-93286-385-7.


  1. ^ a b "Anti-vaccination views are misguided - but not illegal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 January 2015. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  2. ^ Salcedo, Andrea (9 June 2021). "Morning Mix A doctor falsely told lawmakers vaccines magnetize people: 'They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks.'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b Srikanth, Anagha (24 March 2021). "12 prominent people opposed to vaccines are responsible for two-thirds of anti-vaccine content online: report". The Hill. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  4. ^ Bischoff, Laura A. "GOP-invited Ohio doctor Sherri Tenpenny falsely tells Ohio lawmakers COVID-19 shots 'magnetize' people, create 5G 'interfaces'". The Columbus Dispatch.
  5. ^ Tenpenny, Sherri. "Sherri J. Tenpenny, DO, AOBNMM (CV)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Sherri Tenpenny: Who is the controversial anti-vaccination campaigner planning to visit Australia?". ABC News. 7 January 2015. Archived from the original on 17 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  7. ^ Medew, Julia (29 January 2015). "US anti-vaccination campaigner Dr Sherri Tenpenny cancels tour of Australia". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  8. ^ Milman, Oliver (7 January 2015). "Sydney venue cancels seminar by US anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 17 January 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  9. ^ Pedersen, Katie; Szeto, Eric; Tomlinson, Asha (26 March 2021). "Marketplace attended a COVID-19 conspiracy boot camp to see how instructors are targeting vaccine skeptics". Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  10. ^ Smith, Michelle R.; Reiss, Johathan (14 May 2021). "Inside one network cashing in on vaccine disinformation". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Pandemic Profiteers" (PDF). Center for Countering Digital Hate. Center for Countering Digital Hate. June 1, 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  12. ^ Dwoskin, Elizabeth; Gregg, Aaron (18 January 2021). "The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  13. ^ Mak, Aaron (18 March 2021). "Where Anti-Vaccine Propaganda Went When YouTube Banned It". Slate. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Dr. Sherri Tenpenny - Face Masks Are Not Effective Against COVID-19: How Masks Are Being Used To Control The Population". Digital Freedom Platform. 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
  15. ^ Offeddu, Vittoria; Yung, Chee Fu; Low, Mabel Sheau Fong; Tam, Clarence C. (2017-11-13). "Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 65 (11): 1934–1942. doi:10.1093/cid/cix681. ISSN 1058-4838. PMC 7108111. PMID 29140516.
  16. ^ Eikenberry, Steffen E.; Mancuso, Marina; Iboi, Enahoro; Phan, Tin; Eikenberry, Keenan; Kuang, Yang; Kostelich, Eric; Gumel, Abba B. (2020-01-01). "To mask or not to mask: Modeling the potential for face mask use by the general public to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic". Infectious Disease Modelling. 5: 293–308. arXiv:2004.03251. doi:10.1016/j.idm.2020.04.001. ISSN 2468-0427. PMC 7186508. PMID 32355904.
  17. ^ Cheng, Vincent Chi-Chung; Wong, Shuk-Ching; Chuang, Vivien Wai-Man; So, Simon Yung-Chun; Chen, Jonathan Hon-Kwan; Sridhar, Siddharth; To, Kelvin Kai-Wang; Chan, Jasper Fuk-Woo; Hung, Ivan Fan-Ngai; Ho, Pak-Leung; Yuen, Kwok-Yung (2020-07-01). "The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2". Journal of Infection. 81 (1): 107–114. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2020.04.024. ISSN 0163-4453. PMC 7177146. PMID 32335167.
  18. ^ Lyu, Wei; Wehby, George L. (2020-06-16). "Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US". Health Affairs. 39 (8): 1419–1425. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00818. ISSN 0278-2715. PMID 32543923. S2CID 219724836.
  19. ^ Funke, Daniel (4 March 2021). "COVID-19 vaccine does not cause death, autoimmune diseases". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  20. ^ Kasprak, Alex (1 March 2021). "Will mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Wreak 'Havoc on The Lungs' in 4 to 14 Months?". Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  21. ^ Fauzia, Miriam (28 May 2021). "Fact check: No definitive evidence COVID-19 vaccine causes autoimmune disease". USA Today. Archived from the original on 3 June 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  22. ^ AFP (28 April 2021). "US Doctor Makes False Claims About COVID-19 Vaccines". Boom. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  23. ^ Check, Reuters Fact (17 May 2021). "Fact Check-No evidence mRNA COVID-19 vaccines affect sperm". Reuters. Archived from the original on 19 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  24. ^ Bischoff, Laura A. (9 June 2021). "GOP-invited Ohio doctor Sherri Tenpenny falsely tells Ohio lawmakers COVID-19 shots 'magnetize' people, create 5G 'interfaces'". The Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  25. ^ Ingles, Jo (11 June 2021). "Ohio House Speaker Says False Testimony On 'Magnetizing' Vaccines Won't Change Policies". WOSU. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  26. ^ "Sherri Tenpenny makes false COVID-19 vaccine magnetism claim to Ohio lawmakers". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  27. ^ Jankowicz, Mia. "Twitter bans anti-vaxxer who pushed the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 shots make people magnetic". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 12 September 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  28. ^ Anderson, Chris. "Twitter suspends account of Ohio doctor who claimed COVID-19 vaccine causes magnetism". 19 News. Archived from the original on 12 September 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  29. ^ Alba, Davey (September 29, 2021). "YouTube bans all anti-vaccine misinformation". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2021.

External links