Israel was the lab for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, as newly reelected President Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in a recent interview with Jordan Peterson. Yet the health ministry now claims to have mislaid or, even worse, never signed the vaccine agreement.
As regular readers know from my numerous articles on this topic (here, here, here and here), the European Commission’s acquisition of 4.6 billion COVID-19 vaccines, to the tune of some seventy-odd billion euros, has been beset by a litany of procedural irregularities and alleged misconduct. Those purchases are now the subject of an investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
The EPPO has not named which particular vaccine contracts are under investigation, but two other watchdog agencies — the EU ombudsman and the EU court of auditors — have heaped opprobrium on one particular deal involving direct negotiations between Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Signed in 2021, it was the biggest vaccine procurement deal the Commission has ever signed — for up to 1.8 billion doses of BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, worth up to €35 billion, according to leaked vaccine prices.
In April 2021, the New York Times reported that the negotiations that sealed the deal were conducted via phone and text messages between VdL and Bourla. None of those communications have been made public. In fact, they appear to have been “lost” or destroyed. When MEPs and the EU’s ombudsman Emily O’Reilly asked VdL to disclose the content of those messages, she straight up refused. Likewise, when the EU court of auditors asked the Commission to provide basic information on the preliminary negotiations, “none was forthcoming.”
When Bourla was invited to give testimony to a European Parliament special committee, he declined the offer — not once, but twice! Just over a month ago, the Pfizer CEO was reprimanded by the UK’s pharmaceutical industry watchdog, the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), for misleading the public, making unsubstantiated claims, and by failing to present information in a factual and balanced way.
It is probably no coincidence that this is all happening at the same time that evidence is stacking up showing that many of the COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer BioNTech’s, are not nearly as effective or as safe as we were initially led to believe. As IM Doc noted in a comment this week, one new study from Cleveland suggests that “the more you are boosted, the more likely you are to become infected with COVID. It is a perfect straight line graph.” The dam, he added, appears to breaking on what you can and cannot say regarding the vaccines.
Meanwhile, in Australia the former Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Kerryn Phelps has broken her silence on her “devastating” vaccine injury, lambasting regulators for “censoring” public discussion with “threats” to doctors.
Yet some vaccine manufacturers continue to hike the prices of their vaccines even as public demand for those vaccines slumps. Pfizer BioNTech recently announced plans to charge $110 to $130 for their COVID-19 vaccine dose in the US, almost quadrupling the current price. Even Forbes magazine was dumbstruck, saying that the move “speaks volumes about US healthcare.”
“We Searched Everywhere…”
In recent months, the conduct of both the EU Commission and Pfizer have presented a clear pattern of deception and obfuscation. And that pattern is now spreading beyond the EU’s borders.
Last week, the Israeli government took a leaf out of the EU’s playbook. In fact, it took the art of pathological excuse-making to a whole new level by claiming in court, apparently with a straight face, that it is unable to locate its COVID-19 vaccine agreement with Pfizer. It even suggested that the agreement may never have been signed, as the French edition of Israel-based international news broadcaster i24 News reports (machine translated):
The Israeli Ministry of Health claimed in court that it was unable to locate the agreement signed with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer regarding the sharing of epidemiological information on coronavirus vaccines, and even stated that it did not know if the agreement had been signed…
In a petition currently pending in the Jerusalem District Court, the Health Ministry has admitted that, despite an extensive search, the vaccine agreement signed with Pfizer has not been located. “We have not found a signed agreement,” said lawyer Ahava Berman of the prosecutor’s office, on behalf of the Ministry of Health. “We searched everywhere, including the Director General’s office and the legal department.”
This latest iteration of “my dog ate my homework” excuse is particularly galling given that Tel Aviv has developed arguably the closest partnership of all national governments with Pfizer. In order to receive priority vaccines from the Pfizer-BioNtech laboratories, it had agreed to give Pfizer regular updates of epidemiological data on its entire population, without consulting the population.
Unsurprisingly, that didn’t go down very well with certain members of the Israeli public. In response a blossoming outcry, the Israeli government made the agreement public in January 2021. But as with the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine agreements, huge sections of the text were redacted. The agreement had left spaces for signatures from the Health Ministry Director General as well as an executive from Pfizer whose name was blacked out. According to the MoH, the original copy may never have been signed…
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