News and Analysis

It Was The Mandates, Not The Fine Print: Fact Checkers Miss Point In Rush To Defend Pfizer
A top Pfizer executive’s admission Monday to European lawmakers that the pharmaceutical giant never tested its COVID vaccine to determine if it stopped transmission is raising new questions about the global effort to compel people to get the jabs.
European Union MEP Rob Roos/Twitter

Fact checkers swung into action after a Pfizer executive acknowledged this week that the company never tested its COVID vaccine against transmission, but they seem to have missed the critics’ point in their rush to defend the pharmaceutical giant.

Janine Small, Pfizer’s president of international developed markets, answered no Monday when asked by European Union Member of Parliament Rob Roos if the company tested its mRNA vaccine on stopping transmission before rolling it out. The Dutch lawmaker later called it “scandalous” given that vaccine passports and mandates were pushed globally on the implication that they would stop transmission.

The “scandalous” parties Roos referred to were global governments, not Pfizer.

While there is no evidence Pfizer ever claimed its vaccine was tested for transmission, the notion that the vaccines offered such protection against the spread of COVID was seized upon by governments to compel people to get vaccinated. The distinction between individuals contracting and transmitting COVID was lost as governments sought to stop the virus from spreading.

“You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” President Joe Biden said in July 2021. Two months earlier, White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci said that vaccinated people become “dead ends” for the virus, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in March 2021 that data from the CDC suggested that “vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick.”

Roos said his point after Monday’s testimony was that compelling young, healthy people who were not afraid of contracting the virus themselves to nonetheless get the jab in order to ensure they did not spread it was built on a myth.

“Millions of people worldwide felt forced to get vaccinated because of the myth that ‘you do it for others,’” he said in the video, which has been viewed more than 10 million times. “Now this turned out to be a cheap lie. This should be exposed.”

Roos later told The Associated Press he was not claiming Pfizer lied, but that the foundation governments used to press for mandates was bogus.

“I take fundamental rights seriously,” Roos said. “For governments to infringe on them, they need a massive amount of evidence to prove the necessity. In this case, it was not even a part of the Pfizer trials.”

Fact checkers from The Associated Press, Politifact and other groups that have faithfully toed the government line throughout the pandemic were quick to claim that since Pfizer never said it tested its vaccine against transmission — Small’s remark was neither an “admission” nor news.

“Pfizer never claimed to have tested the impact of its COVID-19 vaccine on transmission ahead of its 2020 release, despite misleading claims suggesting the company lied about this issue,” wrote The Associated Press.

“Posts online are saying Pfizer ‘admitted’ that the company did not test whether their COVID-19 vaccine reduced transmission prior to rolling it out – something they were not required to do, nor claimed to have done,” wrote Reuters.

But even if Pfizer never made the claim, fact checkers strong suggested it. A fact-check by USA Today in November 2021, titled “Fact check: Vaccines protect against contracting, spreading COVID-19,” quoted Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University, saying the vaccine did guard against transmission.

“Vaccines provide significant protection from ‘getting it’ – infection – and ‘spreading it’ – transmission – even against the delta variant,” Iwasaki said.

The protection that the COVID vaccines provide to contracting the virus has also been called into question. When the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were first rolled out, pharmaceutical companies, government health officials and political leaders hailed them as powerful and effective. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in April 2021 that early testing showed its vaccine was “100 per cent effective against severe COVID-19.”

When vaccinated people began getting COVID anyway, their cases were initially deemed “breakthrough” cases. Bourla, who got COVID in August, admitted in January his company’s vaccine provides “very limited protection, if any” against contracting the Omicron variant.

Over the last year, many experts have acknowledged that the vaccines may not stop transmission or contraction of the virus, but may lessen the symptoms and prevent deaths. Even if true, say some experts, that is scant justification for vaccine mandates and passports.

“It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target,” Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier and constitutional scholar Jed Rubenfeld wrote earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal. “Mandating a vaccine to stop the spread of a disease requires evidence that the vaccines will prevent infection or transmission (rather than efficacy against severe outcomes like hospitalization or death).”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  It Was The Mandates, Not The Fine Print: Fact Checkers Miss Point In Rush To Defend Pfizer