The world’s second-largest global relations firms representing Pfizer and Moderna has staff embedded in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine division.
During the 2020 pandemic, the CDC, with U.S. tax dollars, paid Weber Shandwick to “boost its health communication” during the pandemic, which involved campaigns that encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.
The New York-based firm has been responsible for elevating Pfizer’s profile since 2003 and partnered with Moderna in June 2022 to market its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine despite being a rival to Pfizer’s.
Weber Shandwick’s conflict of interest was brought to light in a LinkedIn post by an employee of the PR firm last year who said they were excited about starting a job at the PR firm and working with the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).
The NCIRD implements vaccine programs and heads the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), according to an exposé newsletter by investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker.
Weber Shandwick in 2020 secured a $ 50 million contract from the U.S. Government to promote flu vaccines to the public. Responsibilities included circulating social media posts and articles promoting vaccines and sending press releases to the media. It was also involved in paid media advertising.
A “$50 million contract allows PR firm to be ‘embedded at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as part of the Division of Viral Diseases team,’” said Thacker in a tweet Tuesday.
According to Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Weber Shandwick told the media outlet the firm had a “thorough vetting and mitigation process to avoid conflicts.”
Craig Holman, a lobbyist on Capitol Hill for Public Citizen, criticized the CDC for its obvious conflict of interest.
“This is irresponsible of CDC to issue a PR contract to Weber Shandwick,” he told the DisInformation Chronicle on Substack. “Knowing that the firm also works for Moderna and Pfizer.”
Pfizer currently controls about 70% of the U.S, and European markets and brought in roughly $81 billion in 2021 — mostly from its COVID-19 vaccine. This year the pharmaceutical giant expects to bring in $50 billion from just its vaccine and antiviral medication Paxlovid — infamous for causing “rebound COVID.”
According to The Epoch Times, Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna last year brought in a combined estimated pre-tax profit of $1,000 a second, $65,000 a minute or $93.5 million a day.
The companies plan to continue to rake in the profits with their endless experimental booster shots, currently recommended for everyone 12 and over.