Confusion reigns over newly released Pfizer documents

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An elderly woman receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 19, 2021.
AFP PHOTO / Damien MEYERAn elderly woman receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 19, 2021.

Twitter users refer to wrong information as they criticize the vaccine

The hashtag #pfizerdocuments is trending on Twitter after the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released thousands of documents on Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-vaccine in April, the academic newswire Newswise reported.

On social media, users shared screenshots of documents stating that the vaccine is not “recommended during pregnancy,” and that “it is unknown whether the Covid-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 is excreted in human milk."

However, the quotes shared on social media do not derive from the Pfizer documents but from a report by Britain’s Medicines Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2020, Newswise reported. 

Also, the documents do not show that the vaccine is unsafe during pregnancy or while lactating but stress a lack of information at the time, Reuters reported.

However this did not prevent users on Twitter from misquoting the information. 

One user tweeted: “LITERALLY: The Covid-19 mRNA vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy. -Pfizer. How many pregnant and breastfeeding Canadian women were advised by doctors to take the jab?!? Uh-oh.”

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1521633713553133568 ...

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Another person tweeted: 

“They vaxxed 270 pregnant women. There is no feedback on 238, but of the other 32, there was only one live birth. WTF??!! Was this information not relevant enough to be given to pregnant women before they took the vaxx?”

In response to the recent misleading posts on social media, MHRA stated that it has updated its recommendation on vaccinating pregnant and breastfeeding women.

“This was our assessment at the time of approval for the vaccine,” a spokesperson from MHRA said to Reuters, adding that the agency supports the “updated advice on vaccinating those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.”

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1521701212977991680 ...

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“Over 104,000 pregnant people have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine in England and Scotland and no concerns of the safety of the vaccines have been raised,” the spokesperson told the news agency. 

Additionally, users on Twitter claimed that the newly released documents confirmed that the vaccine is only 12 percent effective at protecting people from Covid-19 and not 95 percent as Pfizer originally stated. 

However, none of these claims are rooted in actual documentation, Newswise reported, emphasizing that a user named Sonia Elijah shared an article on the subject before the documents were released. 

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