Same PR Firm That Represents Pfizer & Moderna Hired By CDC During Pandemic

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conflict of interest?

CDC covid vaccine

Questions have been raised about a possible conflict of interest after it emerged that a PR company that represents vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna also has staff ’embedded’ in the CDC’s immunization division.

Weber Shandwick, a firm based in New York, has been responsible for elevating Pfizer’s profile since at least 2006. It also partnered with Moderna earlier this year, after the small biotech firm became a household name following success with its covid vaccine success.

The company was hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the pandemic to boost its ‘health communication’.

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The Mail Online reports: It was involved in PR campaigns that encouraged Americans to get vaccinated against Covid.

But a spokesperson for Weber Shandwick told DailyMail.com it had a ‘thorough vetting and mitigation process to avoid conflicts’.

Vaccine makers made more than $34billion in profits last year from the Covid jabs alone — equivalent to $1,000 a second, according to estimates.

They are expected to make billions more from the bivalent booster jabs being rolled out this winter — with the US having bought 171million doses.

Today the updated shots — which tackle Omicron variants — got the green light for children as young as five years old. They are currently recommended for all over-12s.

Weber Shandwick works for the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).

The potential conflict of interest was brought to attention in a LinkedIn post by an employee of the PR firm last year. 

They wrote on the social media site: ‘So excited to be starting a new role today! I’m joining Weber Shandwick as an Account Director supporting a contract I know well, at the CDC’s NCIRD!’

Another employee replied: ‘Welcome back to the team!’

In 2020 Weber Shandwick also won an up to $50million contract from the US Government to promote flu vaccines to the public.

Its responsibilities included distributing social media posts and articles promoting vaccines, and sending press releases to the media.

It was also involved in ‘paid media placement’, a common euphemism for advertising. 

The firm was employed by Moderna in June this year alongside two other PR firms to promote its mRNA vaccine – despite being a direct rival to Pfizer.

Weber Shandwick is also a long-time client of Pfizer’s, having been brought on back in 2003 to assist with marketing around Viagra pills and other treatments.

Responding to DailyMail.com today, a spokesperson for Weber Shandwick said: ‘We are proud of the important work we do to advance public health.