New Eastern Outlook
by Valery Kulikov
Who could have thought that the phrase “highly likely” uttered by the now all but forgotten former British Prime Minster Theresa May would lay the groundwork for a new kind of journalism where allegations and not facts are good enough to report on. Regrettably, even the major mainstream media journals these days consider this brand of journalism to be worthy of imitation. And The Wall Street Journal is, sadly, no exception as it has recently reported on Moscow’s alleged attempts to discredit a vaccine developed by the Big Pharma giant Pfizer.
The most striking feature of such reports is their unsubstantiated nature and absence of any evidence which leaves readers with no concept of what sort of reporting could be provided by what the once esteemed publication describes as Russian online platforms. Another distinct feature of this new brand of journalism is the use of false information. What is also curious is that the article in question bears no direct links to the sites it discusses, leaving its readers with no option to decide for themselves what are they are dealing with, some sort of delusional thinking or credible reporting based on expert opinion and quotes from still respected Western publications.
The absolute majority of medical professionals across the globe are confident that the more there’s safe and effective vaccines, the faster humankind will be able to celebrate a decisive victory over COVID-19. And there’s really no way to argue with this conclusion. However, it’s equally hard to argue that one’s reporting on possible side effects associated with certain vaccines or reasonable doubts expressed by medical professionals should be truthful and honest. In this context, West’s attempts to politicize the matter of vaccination only makes our collective victory over COVID-19 ever more distant.
In fact, media sources from all across the globe report different studies and observations made against the backdrop of mass vaccination carried out in various nations. For instance, authorities in Austria have decided to suspend the use of AstraZeneca vaccine following the death of a woman that suffered multiple thromboses after injection. A total of ten other states followed their example.
Recently, the Swiss surveillance authority for medicines and medical devices called Swissmedic disclosed in its report that a total of 16 people died after being vaccinated against COVID-19. The medical authority studied a total of 364 cases of various side effects caused by different vaccines, with 199 and 155 associated with a vaccine called Comirnaty devolved by the US company Pfizer in association with Germany’s BioNTech and a vaccine produced by the US company Moderna respectively. Has anyone seen as much as even a mention of this fact in the article published by the WSJ?
According to German media reports, the AstraZeneca vaccine has a bad reputation in Germany, with many citizens who qualify for vaccination refusing to be vaccinated with the “unpopular” AstraZeneca. The Danish publication Berlingske reports that while some countries are eagerly awaiting supplies from AstraZeneca, German warehouses still hold millions of doses. People refuse to be vaccinated, calling the vaccine substandard. Now the vaccination commission has admitted that it made a number of mistakes and intends to revise the recommendations for its use.
In Ukraine, several dozens of medics from Odessa felt ill after being vaccinated with the Indian drug Covieshield/AstraZeneca, the director of the health department of the city council Elena Yakimenko said. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, citing a doctor’s statement, compared the coronavirus vaccine used in the country to feces. There is an ongoing scandal in the Ukrainian media, as commentators claim that the EU deliberately sent a “substandard vaccine” to Ukraine, which is different from the original AstraZeneca.
The Czech Ministry of Health has refused to purchase one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, as announced by Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petrsicek on March 3.
Patients vaccinated with the American Moderna vaccine may experience side effects in the form of rash and inflammation for days, The New England Journal of Medicine notes.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops recommends that the faithful reject another US coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson because it was created and produced using aborted fetal cells, Insider reports.
In early March, a second case of anaphylaxis was diagnosed in Japan after vaccination with a Pfizer vaccine. The case was recorded in a woman in her early 30s, the country’s Ministry of Health announced.
There’s also an active discussion in social networks about the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, canceling his visit to Jerusalem, which was scheduled for March 7. According to the Jerusalem Post, it turned out that he had not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus yet, just like any other member of the delegation that planned to accompany the Pfizer CEO to Israel. This raises a legitimate question about the reasons for this situation and whether it is related to the mistrust that the Pfizer executives share towards their own product. It’s worth mentioning that Pfizer’s vaccine was among the first to be approved under Washington’s patronage, and that the vaccination with this vaccine has been carried on across the globe for over three months now.
Under these circumstances, more and more countries are turning their attention to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the distribution and use of which has been artificially hindered by certain forces in the West for political reasons. In Ukraine, in particular, it was openly stated in the Verkhovna Rada that the blocking of the Russian vaccine was dictated by purely political reasons.
The Bulgarian Trud emphasizes that amid the acute shortage of vaccines in the country, members of the government want to hear nothing about the purchase of Sputnik V, while continuing to pursue a purely Russophobic policy.
Czech experts would not doubt the quality of the Russian vaccine, trusting the competence of Russian scientists. As Lidovky stresses, vaccinating the planet against the coronavirus isn’t just a huge commercial opportunity, but also is a source of geopolitical influence, as the dispute over vaccine supplies between Britain, the European Union, and AstraZeneca illustrates. Unfortunately, the choice of the vaccine and the rejection of the Russian Sputnik V, according to the publication, was caused by nothing but the political situation in the country; nevertheless, desperate pragmatism may still prompt the Czech Republic to purchase Sputnik V.
In this context, there is an ever increasing number of accusations leveled in many European countries against their authorities, with citizens accusing their elected representatives of playing politics instead of thinking about the well-being of common people. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel that in 2020, problems with European solidarity “spilled out like dirty linen from a laundry basket. They are trying to hide it in this or that way, while being fully aware how unsavory they look.”
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic criticized politicians who oppose the purchase of a vaccine against coronavirus from Russia at a time when about a hundred people are dying of the disease every day in Slovakia.
Meanwhile, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, while talking about the promotion of Sputnik V in the markets of many countries, emphasizes that this vaccine is really effective, easy to store and transport. Not surprisingly, it has become one of the most sought-after drugs in the world, although there is an “unclear situation” with its approval by the European Medicines Agency.
The data on the Russian Sputnik V vaccine looks fairly positive said Anthony Fauci, the US Chief Medical Advisor to Joe Biden, in an interview he gave to the Greek TV channel Skai on March 6.
The Japanese Yahoo News Japan quotes a former head of Japanese intelligence, who believes that the Russian Sputnik V is a global scientific breakthrough, as its global authority grows rapidly. According to the publication, it should be considered for application in Japan in the medium term. Even AstraZeneca, which produces a single adenovirus-based vaccine, recognized the superiority of the Russian product. According to the British medical journal The Lancet, the efficacy of the Russian vaccine was confirmed at 92%, which virtually puts it on the same level with matrix vaccines. In this regard, Bloomberg reported: “Sputnik V can be called one of Russia’s biggest scientific breakthrough since the Soviet era.”
By the way, the author of this article has already been vaccinated with Sputnik V. It’s only curious have the authors and editors of the once esteemed Wall Street Journal already received their shots of a US-produced vaccine?
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.