Pfizer accused of funding lies about AstraZeneca’s jab

Pfizer has been accused of paying experts to discredit the coronavirus vaccine made by its rival AstraZeneca

It is alleged to have funded a presentation in which speakers claimed AZ’s jab could cause cancer and was not safe for immunosuppressed patients.

The speech was said to have taken place at an educational seminar in Canada last year but it’s not clear how many took place or if it was an isolated event.

The explosive claims have emerged in a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation due to air on Friday night. 

Pfizer has vehemently denied claims it sought to undermine AZ’s jab, stating the presentations had been ‘wrongly attributed’ to the US drug giant and were carried out by a third party.

Another revelation from the investigation is that manufacturing costs for Pfizer’s vaccine stands allegedly cost just 76p per shot. 

With Pfizer reportedly charging the UK Government £22 per dose, this represents a near 3,000 per cent mark-up on the manufacturing price. 

The Channel 4 Dispatches investigation Vaccine Wars: The Truth About Pfizer will be aired at 7.30pm on Friday.

Pfizer has been accused of funding presentations that undermined the science behind the jab created by rival pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca

Pfizer said the 76p estimate was ‘grossly inaccurate’ and did not take account of clinical studies, manufacturing on a massive scale and global distribution. 

The presentations were apparently made to health professionals in Canada earlier this year about the technology used by the Pfizer vaccine 

The talks allegedly included a number of slides filled with misinformation, including claims the vaccine technology used by AZ could lead to the jab incorporating itself into the genetic code of the recipient and cause tumours. 

Pfizer and Moderna shareholders pocket £7.8billion after Omicron was discovered 

Top shareholders at Pfizer and Moderna made more than £7.8billion ($10billion) in stocks growth in the week after the discovery of Omicron, MailOnline can reveal.

Shares in the pharmaceutical giants rose by 7.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively in the seven days to November 30 — after South Africa alerted the world to the mutant strain on November 24.

Just eight stakeholders made £7.5billion figure between them. Moderna’s chief executive Stephane Bancel pocketed £623million ($824million) in share growth alone — and sold 10,000 of his own stocks for $319 each on November 26 for a total of £2.41million ($3.19million) up front. 

Some experts and politicians have blamed Britain and other western countries for for the emergence of the variant because they did not share sufficient spare vaccine doses with the rest of the world.

Campaign group Global Justice Now today slammed the two companies’ shareholders and executives for profiteering off the result of ‘grotesque’ vaccine inequality ‘they helped to create’. 

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford vaccine group that developed the AstraZeneca vaccine, dismissed the claims and warned of the dangers of spreading vaccine misinformation.  

‘There is huge risks of misinformation, because anything that makes people hesitate about being vaccinated can risk their lives,’ he said.

‘It can undermine and impact on decisions that people make about their own health, but also create uncertainty for policymakers.’ 

Responding, a Pfizer spokesperson said: ‘We refute any suggestion that Pfizer has sought to undermine others’ scientific endeavours.

‘Our priority has always been getting high-quality, well-tolerated and effective vaccines to patients all over the world as quickly as possible and to help put an end to this deadly pandemic.’ 

The spokesperson said that Pfizer provided funds to a third-party agency, with an independent scientific committee to create an educational programme about vaccines in Canada following the approval of the company’s jab in the country.

Pfizer did this, following ‘numerous requests from Canadian health professionals’, the spokesperson said. 

The Channel 4 investigation also reported that Pfizer’s contract with UK means it cannot be taken to court if there is a legal dispute between the UK government and Pfizer. 

Instead, Pfizer and the UK have agreed to a secret arbitration panel. 

The UK cannot say that it is in dispute with Pfizer, what the dispute is about, or what the outcome of the secret arbitration is. 

The UK was apparently the only developed country to have agreed to this demand by Pfizer.    

The Pfizer jab uses mRNA vaccine technology. Once injected into the body it enters cells and tells them to create antigens. These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight off Covid.

One downside to mRNA vaccines is that they need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures and cannot be transported easily. 

In contrast AstraZeneca’s jab, developed with scientists from Oxford University, uses more conventional viral vector technology where, a genetically modified virus is created to produce spike proteins that look like Covid’s.  

AstraZeneca declined to comment about the  investigation.  

The above chart shows the number of vaccine doses ordered by the UK, and which orders have been donated or cancelled. Pfizer has the lion's share of Britain's vaccine orders nearly twice that of rival AstraZeneca

The above chart shows the number of vaccine doses ordered by the UK, and which orders have been donated or cancelled. Pfizer has the lion’s share of Britain’s vaccine orders nearly twice that of rival AstraZeneca 

Pfizer has supplied over two in every three jabs to the EU, 465million out 621million, about seven times that of AstraZeneca

Pfizer has supplied over two in every three jabs to the EU, 465million out 621million, about seven times that of AstraZeneca 

AstraZeneca famously produced its Covid vaccine at cost, meaning it sold for the £3.60 it cost to make, losing out on a potential £21billion in revenue.

Its unprecedented decision prompted the World Health Organization to hail it as a ‘vaccine for the world’.

Pfizer has the lead in both the UK and Europe for the number of vaccines ordered after AstraZeneca’s was linked to very rare blood clotting side effect and was found to be slightly less effective as a booster dose.

The UK has ordered 180million Pfizer jabs, nearly double that of AstraZeneca. Furthermore, the UK has donated half of its AstraZeneca supply.

It’s a similar situation on the continent, where Pfizer has dominated Europe’s jab rollout compared to other vaccines, delivering more than two thirds of the EU’s vaccines.

The investigation comes comes as Pfizer shareholders snapped up £3.9billion in profit in the vaccine frenzy induced by the rise of the Omicron Covid variant. 

 Shares in the pharmaceutical giants rose by 7.4 in the seven days to November 30 — after South Africa alerted the world to the mutant strain on November 24.

In the week after Omicron’s discovery, investment managing company Vanguard Group Inc made the most money from Pfizer’s shares, seeing their total value increase to £1.3billion.

Pfizer’s chief executive Albert Bourla himself saw his stocks increase in value by nearly £257,000 during the week.  

UK could approve Covid vaccines for five to 11-year-olds ‘by Xmas’ 

The UK is poised to start administering Covid vaccines to primary school children as soon as Christmas amid fears of the looming Omicron wave.

Ministers have asked their independent vaccine advisers and chief scientists Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty to consider the move.

George Freeman, a business minister, told Sky News today: ‘We’re looking at the science on that and the balance of the rollout.

‘(Sir) Patrick Vallance, our chief scientist, and (Professor) Chris Whitty are advising on that and it is their advice that guides us.’

June Raine, chief executive of Britain’s medicines regulator, said earlier this week that it was ‘very likely’ a safety review would be wrapped up by Christmas.

Even if the jab is approved by the MHRA, however, the plans still need to be signed off by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The JCVI has so far resisted calls to jab young children because Covid poses such a tiny risk to them.

One of its members, Professor Adam Finn, expressed his unease at the plans today, questioning the ethics of jabbing kids for ‘the indirect protection of adults’.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘The question really is that should that be our focus right now or should we really be focusing on adults who are the ones that much more commonly get seriously ill.’

The JCVI has been far more cautious than other countries like the US, Israel or EU member states which have been rolling out jabs to young children for months.

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