Fact Check

CDC Said mRNA Jabs Have Caused a '14,000% Increase in Turbo Cancer'?

Turbo cancer, which is not a thing, is an invention of the anti-vaccine movement.

Published April 19, 2024

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that COVID-19 vaccines have caused at least a 14,000% increase in "turbo cancer" cases across the United States.

Myriad publications have falsely warned readers about "turbo cancer," a purportedly aggressive form of cancer caused by mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. A recent rash of headlines on the topic assert that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had warned the public about turbo cancer, an assertion that originated from disreputable websites including the conspira-satirical The People's Voice. 


'CDC Data'

These stories all cite data from the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) compiled by the anti-vaccine outlet Exposé News. That outlet's story claims that a comparison between the raw number of "cancer cases" reported to VAERS following the influenza vaccine could serve as a baseline for which to compare cancer cases occurring after COVID-19 vaccination. 

The headline used by The People's Voice stems from such a comparison, but it misleadingly omits mention that it concerns only people in their 30s:

People in their 30s reported just 1 cancer case due to influenza vaccination between 1st Jan 21 and 29 March 24, whereas 141 cancer cases were reported among people in their 30's due to COVID-19 vaccination. This equates to a shocking 14,000% increase in cancer cases due to COVID-19 vaccination.

These and all other comparisons of VAERS data are inherently flawed. For one thing, the link provided by The Exposé to its data is dead, so we have no way to know which of the thousands of filters were used to determine "cancer cases." Snopes was unable to recreate The Exposé's numbers. 

More significant than the issue of our having to take The Exposé's data in blind faith is the fact that the story claims that raw VAERS data show causation between a vaccine and an adverse event. 

This is an explicit misuse of the sometimes unverified data in VAERS. The data have not been corrected in the ways required by the types of epidemiological studies capable of addressing a causal link, and the data portal from which The Exposé claims they got its numbers comes with this disclaimer:

VAERS accepts reports of adverse events that occur following vaccination. Anyone, including healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers, and the public, can submit reports to the system. While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. 

Vaccine providers are encouraged to report any clinically significant health problem following vaccination to VAERS even if they are not sure if the vaccine was the cause. In some situations, reporting to VAERS is required of healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers.

As Snopes has written about extensively, the misuse of VAERS data to argue causation has been a staple of the anti-vaccine movement since well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Any claim purporting to do so is not credible.  

The Exposé regularly posts unvetted scientific claims that ignore basic study design, including the promotion of a study Snopes reported on in February 2024 that misrepresented the meaning of "statistical significance." 

'Turbo Cancer'

The Exposé piece does not use the term "turbo cancer" (though it uses the term in other articles). The outlet's story was turbo-charged by the website The People's Voice, which has a history of blending quasi-factual information with conspiratorial themes to produce what it calls "satire." An April 15, 2024, story on the website said:

The CDC has warned that COVID-19 vaccines have caused at least a 14,000% increase in turbo-cancer cases across the United States.

The misuse of data made public by the CDC does not constitute a CDC warning, and "turbo cancer" does not exist. 

A video of a purportedly significant Swedish pathologist, Ute Kruger, is largely responsible for the term, which was produced by a group of COVID-19 vaccine skeptics known as Covid Doctors for Ethics. According to that video interview and an associated blog post, Kruger saw an increase in aggressive, tumor-causing cancers coincident with the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines:  

Dr. Kruger initially thought that these turbo cancers, as she calls them, were due to delayed doctor appointments from Covid lockdowns, but that period is long over, and the tumors are still growing aggressively, and in younger patients. She reported some of these cases to the FDA, and while some higher-ups initially agreed to meet with her, they canceled the meeting with no explanation the next day and sent a phone agent to take her report instead.

As Lead Stories reported during an earlier batch of turbo cancer headlines, epidemiologist-analyzed and corrected VAERS data do not suggest any causal link between any cancer and mRNA vaccination. A representative for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the fact-checking outlet in an Aug. 16, 2023, email that:

Extensive monitoring of adverse events reported after vaccination with authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) does not show a safety signal for any type of lymphoma or other cancers, including aggressive tumors.

COVID Doctors for Ethics appears to be a mouthpiece for anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Sucharit Bhakdi. As Snopes previously reported, Bhakdi is an overtly antisemitic political figure who has been a repeated source of demonstrably false information about the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. In February 2023, he was responsible for the false claim that a member of the Thai royal family had died from a Pfizer vaccine, leading the country to ban its use. 

Because turbo cancer is not a clinically recognized condition, because the purported data suggesting a 14,000% increase in this not-real condition involves only a subset of individuals aged 30-39, and because the data from which that subset was derived is incapable of assessing causation for any condition, including fictional ones, we rate the claim as "False."


Adl-Tabatabai, Sean. "CDC: mRNA Jabs Have Caused 14,000% Increase in Turbo Cancer." The People's Voice, 15 Apr. 2024, https://thepeoplesvoice.tv/cdc-mrna-jabs-have-caused-14000-increase-in-turbo-cancer/.

"COVID Vaccines Have Caused at Least 14,000% Increase in Cancer Cases in the USA According to CDC." The Expose, 14 Apr. 2024, https://expose-news.com/2024/04/14/covid-vaccines-cause-141x-increase-cancer-cases-usa/.

Fact Check: COVID-19 Vaccine-Related "Turbo Cancers" Are NOT Real -- Thus NOT "Contagious" Or "Behaving Like A Bioweapon" | Lead Stories. 16 Aug. 2023, https://leadstories.com/hoax-alert/2023/08/fact-check-covid-19-vaccine-related-turbo-cancers-are-not-real-thus-not-contagious-or-behaving-like-a-bioweapon.html.

Jews 'Learned Evil' From Nazis: Leading COVID-19 Conspiracy Theorist in Germany Loses Publisher Over Antisemitic Comments - Algemeiner.Com. 16 July 2021, https://www.algemeiner.com/2021/07/16/jews-learned-evil-from-nazis-leading-covid-19-conspiracy-theorist-in-germany-loses-publisher-over-antisemitic-comments/.

Social Media: Video Debunks the Term "Turbo Cancer" and Highlights Vaccine Safety (English, Spanish) (0:45) | Vaccine Resource Hub. https://vaccineresourcehub.org/resource/social-media-video-debunks-term-turbo-cancer-and-highlights-vaccine-safety-english-spanish. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) Request. https://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.