Wednesday, 23 Jun 2021

French media influencers targets of paid campaigns to discredit Pfizer vaccines

France: Expert discusses 'smear campaign' against Pfizer jab

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French authorities are now investigating reports that media influencers have been approached by paid campaigns to say the Pfizer vaccine is dangerous. Medical and health media stars were specifically targeted and told they would be paid £1,700 to downplay the effectiveness of the vaccine and not reveal they were being paid for it. The French Health Ministry said they are now monitoring the situation as the French press speculate who is behind the campaign.

An influencer by the name of Jeremie who has 63,000 followers on Tik Tok said he was approached by a fake marketing agency who promised to pay him money to discredit the Pfizer vaccine. 

He was given a list of instructions to follow which included doubting the Government’s vaccine efforts.

He told FranceInfo: “The person who contacted me wanted to stay completely anonymous but, in general, when you’re in a partnership you always have to name the brand – it was very surprising.”

YouTuber Leo Grasset said he was also offered the same deal but turned it down. 

Mr Grasset specialises in science content and has over a million subscribers. 

He tweeted: “This is strange, I got offered a partnership that consists of destroying the Pfizer vaccine in a video.

“Huge budget, and a client that wants to stay anonymous.”

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The agency claimed it was based in the UK but it was revealed the London address was fake. 

The Pfizer vaccine is one of the more popular vaccines in France after disputes with AstraZeneca and doubts over its links to extremely rare blood clots caused the vaccine to fall out of favour with France. 

French President Emmanuel Macron also criticised the AstraZeneca vaccine during the early stages of the rollout. 

Despite a slow start bogged down by vaccine supply and vaccine hesitancy, over a third of the French population, or 23 million people, have received their first vaccine.

The UK has just shy of 40million people receiving their first vaccine as restrictions are slowly lifted across the country.

Recent studies have shown the Pfizer vaccine is “highly effective” against the Indian variant which initially threw doubt on the UK reopening next month. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “increasingly confident” the UK would see all restrictions lifted on June 21 after health authorities were concerned over the vaccine programme’s effectiveness against the Indian and Kent variants. 

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