France hit by a mystery campaign to discredit the Pfizer vaccine through influencers

French media and social networks on Tuesday were abuzz with speculation about a mysterious offering from influencers and YouTube personalities, asking them to publicly belittle the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in exchange for cash.

Those targeted by the campaign, who are active in the health and science fields, said they had received an email from an apparently UK-based communications agency offering them ‘a partnership’ on behalf of a client with ‘a huge budget ‘but who wanted to remain anonymous and also to keep every deal secret.

“Strange. I received a partnership proposal that involves covering the Pfizer vaccine in a video,” tweeted Leo Grasset, whose popular science channel has nearly 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube.

“Huge budget, the client wants to remain incognito, and I should hide the sponsorship.”

He added, “Unbelievable. The address of the London agency that contacted me is fake. They were never there, it’s a laser surgery center. All employees have weird LinkedIn profiles.”

The profiles he found had now disappeared, but not before he realized that “everyone there worked in Russia”.

Incroyable.L’adresse de l’agence Londonienne qui m’a contacté est bidon. I am not jamais eu de locaux là bas, c’est un center laser esthétique! All employees on the profile LinkedIn chelous … qui disparaissent depuis ce matin. Tout le monde a bossé en Russie avant. WTF

– Léo Grasset (@dirtybiology) May 24, 2021

Sami Ouladitto, a comedian with nearly 400,000 subscribers, reported a similar approach, as did Et Ca Se Dit Medecin (And They Call Themselves Doctors), a hospital intern with 84,000 followers on Instagram.

“This is sad, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible and it’s not going to work,” French Health Minister Olivier Veran told BFMTV on Tuesday.

The French are mostly in favor of getting vaccinated and “I don’t think any attempt to divert them from vaccines will work,” he said, adding that he had “no idea” whether the alleged offer from Russia would work. can come.

Virgin Islands link?

The authors of the emails, claiming to be a London-based agency called Fazze, are difficult to trace, French media reported.

Le Monde newspaper said Fazze was never registered in the UK, but may have a legal presence in the Virgin Islands.

But according to the LinkedIn profile of Fazze’s CEO, now removed, the agency operates out of Moscow, Le Monde said.

According to tweets from people claiming to be aware of the matter, the agency offered 2,000 euros ($ 2,450) to influencers in exchange for them, notably claiming that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot caused more deaths than any other vaccine.

The vaccine, usually referred to only as Pfizer in France, has gained popularity after a rival British-Swedish vaccine from AstraZeneca fell out of favor in much of the European Union due to health concerns and delivery delays.

The EU executive is suing AstraZeneca for forcing it to deliver 90 million additional doses of its Covid-19 vaccine by July.

The legal action puts further pressure on the company after linking the vaccine to very rare but often deadly blood clots in combination with low platelet counts.

The EU has also approved two other vaccines for use, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

But the Russian Sputnik vaccine – as well as the Chinese Sinopharm – are still not approved for use in the block.

After a slow start, the rollout of coronavirus vaccination in France has gained momentum in recent weeks, with around 23 million people – one third of the population – receiving at least one dose so far.


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