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Noble Lies and Shady Deals
Germany and Europe contracted billions of vaccine doses - when did they know the boosters were coming?
Love Thy Neighbour
This striking magazine cover is from 23rd December 2020 from one of Germany’s leading illustrated weekly current affairs publications, the broadly left-liberal Stern magazine (Stern is German for “Star”). I will not dwell on the disturbingly overt symbolism of the cover image, fresh off the press for Christmas Eve end of the first pandemic year. Instead, I wish to focus on the cover title which encapsulates one of the great so-called “Noble Lies” of the pandemic, namely: getting vaccinated is an act of compassionate solidarity. The notion of solidarity was appropriated early on by the German vaccinators to promote mass-vaccination and the term was simultaneously weaponised against the vaccine-skeptical.
Considering the religious iconography of the image and the context of the Christmas season, I find an appropriate translation of the cover title to be: “VACCINATION: An Act of Brotherly Love; What you need to know now”. Vaccination is heralded as an act of altruism and benevolence. The title invokes the laudable spiritual principle of cultivating feelings of humanity and compassion towards one's fellow human beings and equates it with Covid vaccination (big pharma’s expensive gift to mankind). Of course, after the interceding two years of pandemic hysteria and misery, the more worldly, “Taking one for the team”, might better apply to the suffering that vaccination has since caused for so many individuals.
The Speed of Regulatory Medicine Agencies
The Stern article came two days after the European Medicines Agency gave Pfizer’s Covid-19 Comirnaty product its initial Conditional Marketing Authorisation(CMA), three weeks after Pfizer submitted their application on 1st December. The Conditional Marketing Authorisation (Europe’s equivalent of an Emergency Use Authorisation) tipped the media coverage into overdrive.
The EMA’s own press releasewas confident (all emphasis mine):
EMA has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine Comirnaty, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in people from 16 years of age. EMA’s scientific opinion paves the way for the first marketing authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccine in the EU by the European Commission, with all the safeguards, controls and obligations this entails.
EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has completed its rigorous evaluation of Comirnaty, concluding by consensus that sufficiently robust data on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are now available to recommend a formal conditional marketing authorisation. This will provide a controlled and robust framework to underpin EU-wide vaccination campaigns and protect EU citizens.
“Today’s positive news is an important step forward in our fight against this pandemic, which has caused suffering and hardship for so many,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of EMA. “We have achieved this milestone thanks to the dedication of scientists, doctors, developers and trial volunteers as well as many experts from all EU Member States.” [Witzbold: “give it up for the wonderful world of medical science and their human guinea pigs!”]
“Our thorough evaluation means that we can confidently assure EU citizens of the safety and efficacy of this vaccine and that it meets necessary quality standards. However, our work does not stop here. We will continue to collect and analyse data on the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine to protect people taking the vaccine in the EU.”
My apologies to any who had trouble stomaching the extended quote above. I will never forget how completely the hopium affected serious scientists’ normally careful and circumspect statements. The Executive Director of the EMA even managed to deliver a manipulative evocation of pathos invoking “the suffering and hardship of so many”. The vainglorious claims of due diligence and assurances seem unbelievably naive against the backdrop of growing data and evidence which has since accumulated (and many would argue was there from the start!) against those claims.
Negotiations with Pharma Spring/Summer 2020
Long before the CMA was issued, the unseemly (and not very solidary) race amongst individual European nations to secure deliveries had already started. A long-form article from Politico provides a very good account:
Meanwhile, EU countries weren’t waiting for the Commission to start to strike deals. France and Spain separately began talks with Moderna, according to the Commission official. By mid-April , Paris and Berlin started negotiating together to buy vaccines, according to an Elysée official.
EU27 health ministers signed off on a Commission plan to buy on their behalf on June 12 . But the Franco-German initiative continued to press forward, having invited the Netherlands and Italy to join their buyers’ club. On June 13 , the quartet — known as the “Inclusive Vaccine Alliance” [total population ~230 million] — announced a deal for between 300 million and 400 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
Ultimately the EU member states agreed to leverage their combined buying power and the EU Commission took over centralised negotiations and concluded Advance Purchasing Agreements with the vaccine manufacturers on behalf of its members. Understand, these deals for orders of hundreds of millions of doses (and billions of euro) were being negotiated IN ADVANCE of any drug authorisations and in advance of comprehensive efficacy and safety results from human drug trials which had not yet concluded. Although the EU Commision can argue they were practicing shrewd risk-management and good business to facilitate and accelerate manufacture of promising products in an effort secure vaccine supplies ahead of time, the fact remains: pandemic hysteria and the “fear of missing out”, as Politico refers to it, created hugely perverse financial and political incentives, not least to rubber stamp the drug applications from the various manufacturers when the time came. (Admittedly, the Novax authorisation was slow-walked but the mRNA products were clearly given preferential treatment.)
2G or not 2G, Mandates were the Question
National elections were held in Germany in late September ‘21. During the campaigning Covid cases were low and EVERY single political party promised they were not planning mandates and would not introduce vaccine mandates. Cases rose sharply the month following the elections and just as cases were cresting, the outgoing government enacted sweeping 2G measures to restrict freedoms of the unvaccinated (2G refers to two categories: Geimpft = vaccinated; Genesen = recovered; 3G rules also permitted Getestet = tested). By the start of December the new government had formed with the next Federal Health Minister (Karl Lauterbach) and Bundeskanzler (Olaf Scholz) openly advocating for vaccine mandates, and Lauterbach suggesting more repressive treatment for the unvaccinated. What ensued was a winter of societal division and discontent with increasingly heated rhetoric directed at the unvaccinated and vaccine-skeptical.
Parliamentary Receipts from Bundestag
Exactly one year after the infamous Stern magazine cover and the EMA’s first Covid-19 vaccination authorisation many aspects of daily Germany were now ruled by the Infection Protection Act. The right-wing populist politcal party AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) made an official parliamentary request for information about the details of the German government’s Covid-19 vaccine orders, deliveries, stocks, etc. The offical replycame on 13 January 2022 and features this very informative table:
Booster Orders: Crystal Ball or Writing On The Wall?
Highlighted in yellow above:
“As of the cut-off date 16 December ‘21 Germany has ordered a total of 554 million vaccine doses in various tranches from these contracts [via EU-Commision].”
For a nation of 84 million that’s a very generous order book! Examining a little closer, we see the majority of these doses (~300 million highlighted in green) had already been ordered by 9 April ‘21 (all except some Moderna were for delivery by 2021). Considering the German Standing Vaccination Commision (STIKO) had not yet authorised nor recommended Covid-19 vaccination for healthy children 12-17 years old and would not do so until 16 August 2021, the government had evidently ordered 300 million doses for an 16+ population of ~71 million. Minus donated doses this equated to excess of 3 doses each.
To me it is clear from scale of and dates of these orders that the German government was already planning boosters and was likely planning mandates in early spring 2021.
==UPDATE (19.01.2023)== The Germal government would contend the combined number of doses ordered (~300 million by 9 April ‘21) was only so great because they were hedging their bets with multiple orders from different manufacturers for different vaccines. A sticking point for me remains the timing. At which point was it decided everyone should get vaccinated and not just the old and vulnerable? See follow-up post:
The quantities ordered alone from Pfizer/BioNtech, or Moderna, or Johnson&Johnson were enough to vaccinate the entire adult population. ==END==
By 9th of April only ~19% of elegible adults had received their FIRST dose but if you dared tweet about a subscription model of repeat doses or spoke about mandates you were branded a conspiracy theorist. And yet, the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna were all openly talking about variants and boosters in early 2021:
9 February 2021, Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky told CNBC:
“Unfortunately, as (the virus) spreads it can also mutate.”
“Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend off antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine.”
24 February 2021, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in a press release:
“We believe from our discussions with governments around the world that there will continue to be significant demand for our COVID-19 vaccine and we now are committed to materially increasing our manufacturing capacity. Because of the high efficacy of our COVID-19 vaccine and our ability to quickly develop variant vaccines to help boost the immune system of vaccinees, there is increased demand. We are investing in this additional capacity to help us increase production and allow for flexibility in manufacturing potential vaccine boosters to address emerging variants of the virus”
1 April 2021, Pfizer CEO told CNBC’s Bertha Cooms during an event with CVS Health:
“A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination, but all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role.”
They knew, and they spoke about it openly. They knew from the start that any long-term efficacy of an intramuscularly administered vaccine against such an airborne respiratory coronavirus would not be achievable. They knew variants were inevitable. They knew breakthrough infections were inevitable. They knew their products were not proven to stop transmission. They always knew and were planning accordingly before most people in Europe had even received their first dose.
Elections, Elections, Get Your Orders in!
When the German elections were taking place end of September ‘21, over 70% of eligible individuals in Germany had already received 2 doses. Coincidentally the outgoing government ordered an extra 200 million doses the week of the elections for delivery in 2022/23 (highlighted in red above). For clarity: 200 million doses (minus a proportion for donation to 3rd countries) is much more than 2 doses for every man, woman, and child in Germany and this came on top of the 3 doses that had already been procured for them in 2021. That’s an awful lot of brotherly benevolence for a government promising not to introduce vaccine mandates.
By the way, at the time of the elections, the European Medicines Agency had still not recommended 3rd doses (“boosters”) for the general population but many European nations were starting to take matters into their own hands and were commencing 3rd dose and booster rollouts. This is an instance of regulatory agencies’ “speed of science” proving too slow and being outpaced by political motivations and pharma’s longstanding ambitions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the lion’s share of the vaccine doses ordered the week of the federal elelctions were placed with Pfizer/BioNtech, BioNtech being a home-grown start up from the German state of Baden Würtemburg. Yet another example of loving your neighbour ;)
On September 12th 2022, the EU released its Special Report 19/2022: EU COVID-19 vaccine procurement. Note the very large contract awarded to Pfizer/BioNTech in May 2021, we’ll come to that shortly.
Just 5.2% of Europeans had received their first dose by the end of February ‘21. Meanwhile the EU had contracted to buy a total of 1,355 million doses from six different manufacturers. Eurostat indicates the over 14 population of Europe is ~380 million which means the EU had already contracted 3.5 doses per person over 14 years of age AND had options to order an additional 1,100 million doses (= an additional ~3 doses per person over 14 years of age). I recognise the multiple orders were an effort to hedge their bets for a successful vaccine but these numbers are still shocking. That is until you see what Ursula von der Leyen the president of the EU Commission got up to next:
We did not receive any information on the preliminary negotiations for the EU’s biggest contract
48 In mid-March 2021, the steering board agreed to plan a meeting with EU and national scientific advisors on the scientific aspects of the vaccine strategy for 2022. Such a meeting never took place. During March 2021, the President of the Commission [Ursula von der Leyen] conducted preliminary negotiations for a contract with Pfizer/BioNTech. This was the only contract for which the JNT [Joint Negotiation Team] was not involved in this stage of negotiations, contrary to the Commission decision on procuring COVID-19 vaccines. On 9 April 2021, the Commission presented to the steering board the conditions negotiated between the President of the Commission and Pfizer/BioNTech, and the steering board agreed to launch a call for tender. The contract was signed on 19 May 2021 (see Table 1) and covers 900 million vaccine doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023, with the option of ordering another 900 million doses. It is the biggest COVID-19 vaccine contract signed by the Commission and will dominate the EU’s vaccine portfolio until the end of 2023.
That is some very lucrative brotherly love for BioNtech (at a reputed €20 per dose).
49 We asked the Commission to provide us with information on the preliminary negotiations for this agreement (scientific experts consulted and advice received, timing of the talks, records of the discussions, and details of the agreed terms and conditions). However, none was forthcoming.
Long story short, Von der Leyen did a solo run, personally negotiating the biggest ever EU Covid-19 vaccine deal by SMS and phonecalls with Pfizer's CEO and then stonewalled the EU authorities trying to audit details about the negotiations. Did I mention von der Leyen’s husband is a European nobleman and since December 2020 is also Medical Director of the company Orgenesiswhich is specialised in cell and gene therapies?
Von der Leyen’s stonewalling taken together with CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla’s steadfast refusal to testify to the EU Parliament’s special Covid committee and the EU Commission’s and Bundestag’s refusals to divulge the financial details of the contracts all perfectly encapsulates the disdain which our leaders hold the balances and checks of democracy. As George Carlin used to say, “It’s a BIG club, and you ain’t in it!”
After the party, comes the hangover
Where do we stand today? We have come a long way in two years from covid vaccination being regarded as a quasi-religious act of solidarity with many friendships and relationships yet to heal from the divisions created by the vaccine narrative. While many I speak with still won’t openly question the Vaccination Regime, the German population’s true preferences are clearly revealed in the vaccine takeup data for the successive dose rollouts:
After the embarassing jostling to get jabbed in early 2021, people just don’t want these products anymore. More are more are relating stories to me about vaccine related side effects and the degrees of separtion to someone with a bad experience are shortening. BUT, the good government has already committed to countless more doses as a more recent parliamentary information request answeredon 20 December 2022 (what is it with the week before Chistmas - again?) has confirmed:
As of November 30, 2022, the Federal Republic of Germany was contractually obligated to purchase approximately 283 million doses of the COVID 19 vaccine Comirnaty® from the manufacturer BioNTech/Pfizer. There is an obligation to take delivery of a further 92.4 million doses of Comirnaty®.
Apart from contractual obligations to buy more from Pfizer/BioNtech, according to the national vaccination dashboard, Germany is also currently sitting on approximately 30 million unused (and unwanted) doses. According to reports in die Welt newspaper, the German government has started openly trying to cancel or reduce the excess orders.
And the ire in other countries is also growing. According to the Berlin MorgenPostreporting on a meeting of EU Health Ministers in Brussels last month, more and more European countries are complaining about the contractual obligations of the Advance Purchasing Agreements when their domestic demand has clearly collapsed, and their reserve stocks are already full.
Neighbouring Switzerland (population 8.7 million) destroyed 11 million doses last year alone! As the New Zürcher Zeitung reports, “After the party, comes the hangover”. They were actually referring to the financial profits of the pharmaceutical manufacturers which are predicted to suffer this year, but it could equally apply to the hangover of regret the population may be about to experience in 2023 after their initial vaccine celebrations.
== Bonus graphic from EU Court of Auditors: “Spot the difference” ==
which vaccine development process is most likely to miss serious long-term side-effects?
which is most likely to generate massive profits for pharmaceutical manufacturers?
This post was a departure from the German births and deaths data that I have been focusing on. Recently I have been so struck by the rampant profiteering and many boondoggles of the pandemic - PCR Tests, Antigen Tests, Contact Tracing Apps, etc. - that I wanted to devote a post to this. Above all, the contradictory statements being made by public officials about boosters and mandates when behind the scenes such massive vaccine orders were being agreed is repugnant to me. Considering the now growing concerns about the effects of repeated dosing, especially with the mRNA vaccines, it is all the more galling.
As ever, I appreciate any and all feedback.
If you are missing a fix of German Deaths data please check out Fabian Spieker’s Substack German excess mortality (Part 1) for some deep statistical diving or CM27874’s Substack Excess deaths in Germany, 2022 update for fine statistical analysis.
If you enjoyed the topic of this post, you should check definitely check out Nick Corbishley’s reporting: Germany, the Birthplace of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine, Now Wants to Cancel Its Vaccine Deal (his article was the starting point for my own piece), and Pressure Rises on Von Der Leyen, As Pfizer CEO Backs Out of Testifying to EU Parliament Covid Panel