Tóibin asks Minister if Pfizer vaccine was tested to stop Covid transmission

Pfizer's answer to MEP

Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín has asked the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, if his department had ever received data that the Pfizer Covid vaccine was ever tested for is ability to stop the transmission of the virus.

The Meath West TD said that he wanted to ask if “any data, evidence or information from Pfizer that indicates that that the Pfizer Covid Vaccine was ever tested in terms of its ability to stop the transmission of Covid”, was received by the Minister or the Department.

Some controversy has now arisen around previous claims by public figures and senior policymakers and politicians that the Pfizer or other Covid-19 vaccines could mostly prevent transmission of the virus – though there is no record of Pfizer having made that claim.

However, the belief that a Covid-19 vaccine could stop or seriously reduce transmission of the virus did seem to underpin much of public policy around Covid passports and moves to make vaccines mandatory or make life very difficult for those who did not wish to take them.

Pfizer executive Janine Small, responding to a question in the EU Parliament from Dutch MEP, Rob Roos, confirmed that Pfizer did not test the vaccine for prevention of transmission of the virus. Roos said afterwards that he believed her answer meant that the slogan used by policy makers of “getting vaccinated to protect others” was “a lie”.

However, speaking for Pfizer, Ms Small said that Pfizer had been working at “the speed of science” to get a safe vaccine ready during the crisis, and that the jab had saved millions of lives.

Speaking to Tucker Carlson, Roos said that the admission had been publicly made for the first time and that people had been told to take the vaccine to “protect your grandmother” and that Covid passports had been used to roll out “institutional discrimination” against those who did not want to take the vaccine.

“All of this was based on the idea that vaccination would stop the spread of the virus,” he said, describing it as one of “the biggest scandals of our time”.

Some reactions to the controversy took issue with the claim that there had been an “admission” or “revelation” from Pfizer, pointing to the clarification by medical experts, including the associate editor of the British Medical Journal, as far back as October 2020 that the vaccines were not being developed to prevent transmission but rather to prevent serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19.

“Our trial will not demonstrate prevention of transmission,” a Moderna spokesperson told the BMJ, “because in order to do that you have to swab people twice a week for very long periods, and that becomes operationally untenable.”

However, it is certain that senior commentators, political leaders, policy makers and others shaped a public message to encourage vaccination on the narrative that the Covid-19 vaccine would prevent transmission.

GAVI, an influential public–private global health partnership who work to boost vaccine take-up, said in May 2021 that while “many scientists have been hesitant to say they can reduce transmission of the virus”, they believed that “mounting evidence” suggested that “Covid vaccines do reduce transmission”.

The HSE was advising in April 2021, based on the emerging evidence at that time, that Covid-19 vaccines could reduce transmissibility of the virus.

In fact, it was later shown that when the Covid-19 virus mutated and produced variants such as Delta, the vaccine effect in “reducing transmission is minimal.”

“They’re recognising that vaccines aren’t preventing transmission, and you’ve got too many people having to isolate. Policymakers have decided that the game’s up on transmission, but that you need a different approach,” Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh told the BMJ in February of this year.




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