By Marica Micallef
On 29th September, Politico reported that:
“Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla has pulled out of an appointment to testify before the European Parliament’s special committee on COVID-19, at which he was expected to face tough questions on how secretive vaccine deals were struck.”
The decision followed the publication of an audit report into the EU’s vaccine procurement strategy earlier in September, which raised new concerns about the high-level contacts between Bourla and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen prior to a multibillion-euro vaccine contract.
The CEO of the US pharmaceutical behemoth, the EU’s largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines, was scheduled to testify before the panel on October 10. The committee is meeting with key officials involved in the European Union’s vaccine procurement process to learn how to respond to future pandemics [they are planning more in the near future]. Other pharmaceutical executives who have addressed the committee include Moderna’s CEO and senior executives from AstraZeneca and Sanofi.
The committee’s chair, Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, told POLITICO that she “deeply regrets” Pfizer’s decision. Van Brempt said in a written statement following a visit to BioNTech’s headquarters last week that she was looking forward to discussions “with other CEOs,” including “Mr. Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer,” on October 10.
The European Court of Auditors discovered that von der Leyen was directly involved in preliminary negotiations for the EU’s largest vaccine contract, for up to 1.8 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, which was signed in May 2021. This was a departure from the usual contract-negotiation procedure, in which a joint negotiating team comprised of Commission and member-country officials held exploratory talks. It is always sunny in the rich men’s world!
The EU watchdog also pointed out that the Commission refused to provide records of its discussions with Pfizer, such as minutes, names of experts consulted, agreed terms, or other evidence.
The New York Times reported on Bourla and von der Leyen’s seemingly cozy relationship in 2021, with the two exchanging text messages in the run-up to the deal.
A Pfizer spokesperson told POLITICO that Janine Small, the company’s president of international development markets, would attend the committee hearing.
“She has been identified as best placed to support the committee in meeting their objectives,” the spokesperson said.
Excuse me, but didn’t the EU know what was going on all along? Did it find out about this now? Is this another controlled counter-narrative? At the end of the day, the EU pushed a lot for these vaccines. Considering this conflict of interest, is the EU going to retrieve the Pfizer vaccines from the market or not?
When one has a look at Bourla’s and von der Leyen’s families, it comes with no surprise that there is this kind of high-level contact between von der Leyen and Bourla, prior to this multibillion-euro vaccine deal under scrutiny.
Bourla’s parents were Sephardi Jews, who were among the 2000 of 50,000 Jews in Thessaloniki to have survived the Holocaust. According to Bourla, his mother was allegedly minutes away from execution by firing squad when she was spared via ransom paid to a Nazi Party official by her non-Jewish brother-in-law, while his father happened to be out of the Jewish ghetto when the residents were taken to Auschwitz concentration camp and went into hiding.
Von der Leyen’s ancestors had been doctors, jurists, and civil servants since the 17th century, and her family was among the hübsche families (they were the third elite class of the Electorate and Kingdom of Hanover in the 18th and early 19th century, after the nobility and the clergy)—a state in a personal union with the United Kingdom. Her great-great-grandfather, George Alexander Albrecht, moved to Bremen in the 19th century and rose through the ranks to become a wealthy cotton merchant, a member of the Hanseatic elite, (a collective term for the hierarchy group consisting of elite individuals and families of prestigious rank who constituted the ruling class of the free imperial city of Hamburg) and the Austro-Hungarian Consul from 1895. Her father, Ernst Albrecht, is also of German origin and was a politician.
It seems like Bourla and von der Leyen are also part of the One Big Club. Their photo says it all. And for all those who are still at the back, I hope that maybe, you will slowly start understanding why you were bombarded with these vaccines. It is definitely not for your health because when money talks, the truth is silent.