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Trevor Noah blasted for doubting sincerity of Moderna CEO’s concerns over vaccine effectiveness

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah is being slammed for doubting the sincerity of the Moderna CEO’s concerns over the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness against the new South African variant Omicron.   

Noah, 37, who is South African, criticized the ‘need [for] new vaccines’ after the Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, 49, hinted at it last week. 

‘If we don’t make a new vaccine this disease could be with us Ferrari – I mean, forever! Sorry, I was thinking of something else,’ Noah joked during his show on Thursday after hinting that the CEO’s concern was financial gain. 

‘Now, look, I’m not saying that the CEO of Moderna is lying,’ he quickly followed up. ‘I’m not saying that at all.

‘I’m just saying that I don’t think he’s the most objective source on this topic.’ 

Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who is South African, 37, is slammed for promoting ‘vaccine hesitancy’ after he doubted the Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel’s concerns over the new Omicron variant and the vaccines’ ability to handle it. The funny guy even joked he’d only believe in it if the CEO of Johnson and Johnson Alex Gorsky recommended it because ‘nobody’s going to buy his vaccines either way, so I trust him’ 

Bancel, 49, said it could take two to six weeks for his company to really know how the variant interacts with the vaccines and that it could have a new vaccine ready in 60 to 90 days. Noah suggested Bancel was 'concerned' for financial gain

Bancel, 49, said it could take two to six weeks for his company to really know how the variant interacts with the vaccines and that it could have a new vaccine ready in 60 to 90 days. Noah suggested Bancel was 'concerned' for financial gain

Bancel, 49, said it could take two to six weeks for his company to really know how the variant interacts with the vaccines and that it could have a new vaccine ready in 60 to 90 days. Noah suggested Bancel was ‘concerned’ for financial gain 

The Comedy Central talk show host and comedian said he would ‘wait to hear what neutral experts say about a new vaccine’ or the ‘CEO of Johnson and Johnson.’ 

He jokingly said: ‘He [J&J CEO Alex Gorsky] has nothing to gain, because nobody’s going to buy his vaccines either way, so I trust him.’ 

The comedian’s hesitancy comes after reports that the Omicron variant has been causing mild cases in patients and he wondered if ‘the guy who stands to gain millions of dollars’ had other motives. 

Earlier this week Bancel expressed concern over a ‘material drop’ in the vaccine’s  effectiveness. 

‘I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked are like: “This is not going to be good.”‘ he told the Financial Times

Despite the show airing on a comedy channel, the internet wasn’t too pleased with Noah and accused of him spreading ‘anti-vaxx’ narratives.   

One user wrote: ‘Not helpful. Fuels conspiracy theories and anti-vax rhetoric. Not impressed @Trevornoah.’ 

Another said: ‘This is irresponsible and can get people killed. Shame on y’all.’ 

One user came after Noah’s nationality, stating: ‘Op, someone is defensive about his home country.’

Noah was born and raised in Johannesburg, South African and even began his career there in 2002 and has hosted music, television and film awards shows in the country. 

Twitter came for the star, calling out how he was promoting 'anti-vax theories' and that he was 'funnier' and 'smarter' than that. One user, however, agreed with Noah, also questioning the need for a new vaccine, although most comments were negative

Twitter came for the star, calling out how he was promoting ‘anti-vax theories’ and that he was ‘funnier’ and ‘smarter’ than that. One user, however, agreed with Noah, also questioning the need for a new vaccine, although most comments were negative 

Another user pointed out that flu vaccines are yearly and that COVID-19 could follow a similar path. 

User Chris Wilson wrote: ‘This is basically how the flu vaccine that we get yearly works – as many identified strains as possible are included. This commentary is the argument that comes from MAGA and anti-vaxx people.’ 

One user said the ‘disappointing take’ ‘nurtures variants’ and that the ‘greedy CEO stereotype’ was ‘lazy’ of Noah. He also slammed the star further by saying Noah was ‘smarter’ than this. 

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa - Noah's home country - last week, but is believed to have originated in Botswana or a European country. More than 400 cases have been confirmed across 34 countries

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa – Noah’s home country – last week, but is believed to have originated in Botswana or a European country. More than 400 cases have been confirmed across 34 countries 

Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa, had a large outbreak in Norway and has been detected in the US and the UK

Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa, had a large outbreak in Norway and has been detected in the US and the UK 

Omicron has been detected in several US states

Omicron has been detected in several US states 

‘A disappointing take. Vax hesitancy nurtures variants & impedes our ability to get out from under this. The ‘greedy CEO’ stereotype is lazy, undermines vax confidence & bolsters anti-vaxxer conspiracy BS. [Trevor Noah] you’re funnier and smarter. Be better and follow the science.’  

Not all Twitter users were critical of the star, one user – who is vaccinated – also questioned the need for a ‘new vaccine.’ 

‘Wow! The comments on here are crazy. Someone has a rational thought and people freak out. I’m vaccinated but do we really need a new vaccine?’ he said. 

The Omicron variant was initially detected by South African officials last week, but it is believed to have originated in either Botswana or in a European country.

A recent study found Omicron is 2.4 times more infectious and is believed to be potentially vaccine evasive due to its many mutations. 

South Africa has experienced a massive surge in COVID-19 cases since the variant was first discovered, with the nation reporting 11,535 new cases on Thursday after averaging less than 500 new cases per day only two weeks ago. 

South African health officials are reporting that cases of the variant they have seen so far have been more mild than those of other variants.

It has 50 mutations, including more than 30 on the spike protein that the COVID-19 vaccines target to prevent infection.

For comparison, the Delta variant – which was responsible for a massive surge of cases in the US over summer – only had seven mutations of the spike protein. 

Nearly 400 cases of the variant have been confirmed across 34 countries worldwide. including the US.

Because of these many infections, vaccine experts fear the shots could be rendered ineffective against the new variant.

Bancel said it still take anywhere from two to six weeks for his company to really know how the variant interacts with the vaccines.

The CEO also reports that his company could have an updated version of its COVID-19 jab ready for Americans within the next 60 to 90 days if it is determined to be needed.

A South African expert also reports that the variant could bypass natural immunity provided by previous infection, and it re-infecting COVID-19 survivors at a rate three times that of other variants. 


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