COVID-19 is still around and has taken the lives of over 3.5 million people. The deadly dance of the virus hasn’t stopped yet, but we already have mysterious agencies who are trying to make it difficult for the affected countries to fight the coronavirus. According to an AP report, one Russia-linked agency is paying social media influencers with thousands of followers to spread misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, especially the Pfizer vaccine. Also Read: Moderna ‘TeenCOVE’ study: COVID-19 mRNA vaccine safe and 100% effective in adolescents
The misinformation campaign came to light after French authorities discovered that several bloggers in the country received emails from a person claiming to work for a marketing/PR firm called Fazze. The company offered influencers as much as $2,500 to criticize the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on the social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Also Read: Explained: What is ECMO therapy and how is it useful for COVID-19 patients with lung damage
The advertising company had asked the social media influencers to make 45- to 60-second videos on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube criticizing Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. The influencers were asked to state that the mortality rate of the Pfizer vaccine is 3 times greater than the AstraZeneca. They were asked to question the European Union as to why they are buying the American vaccine and ignoring side effects. Also Read: COVID-19: South African variant can break through Pfizer’s vaccine, says study conducted in Israel
Who’s behind it: Counterintelligence officers suspect the role of the Kremlin. The officers looking at the role of Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm that U.S. authorities have identified as responsible for Moscow’s effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
It has also been said that that the advertising agency was hired by AstraZeneca (directly or indirectly) to misguide people and turn them against Pfizer after their vaccine got negative press with reports of people developing life-threatening blood clots after taking the jab. Also Read: COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer jab is 100% effective in trial of children between ages 12-15 years
Response: French Health Minister Olivier Veran said, ” It’s pathetic, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible and it doesn’t work.”
Pfizer spokeswoman said, “We ask that the public carefully consider where they are sourcing information from, and examine the credibility of those sources”.