Ministers have agreed a secrecy clause in any dispute with the drugs manufacturer Pfizer over Britain’s Covid vaccine supply. Large portions of the government’s contracts with the company over the supply of 189m vaccine doses have been redacted and any arbitration proceedings will be kept secret.
The revelation comes as Pfizer is accused by a former senior US health official of “war profiteering’’ during the pandemic. In a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation to be broadcast this week, Tom Frieden, who was director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Barack Obama, said: “If you’re just focusing on maximising your profits and you’re a vaccine manufacturer … you are war profiteering.”
EVIDENCE is growing that Covid-19 vaccines may worsen the disease in some recipients. The danger arises when a vaccinated person meets the actual virus. Antibodies developed as a result of the jab can end up enhancing disease rather than protecting against infection.
Previous warnings about this potentially lethal effect, known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), have been downplayed or dismissed as theoretical by the manufacturers. The phenomenon has been seen with vaccines against other viruses but is considered very rare.
After reviewing published evidence concerning the effect, however, two US experts  have concluded it is ‘non-theoretical and compelling’. Receiving the vaccine could convert a subject from someone who experiences mild disease ‘to someone who experiences severe disease, lasting morbidity or even death’.
Nine executives from Moderna, BioNTech, ROVI and CanSino Biologics have all become billionaires throughout the pandemic
Together they are now worth $19.3 billion – a combined net wealth greater than what it would cost to vaccinate the world’s poorest nations
The list was compiled by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel is now worth a whopping $4.3 billion after his company was granted emergency use authorization in the US in December
CEO and co-founder of BioNTech Ugur Sahin is close behind with a wealth of $4 billion, following its collaboration on a vaccine with Pfizer
Senior executives from CanSino Biologics have also become billionaires after it developed a one-shot vaccine that was approved for use in China this February
It comes as world leaders will discuss at the G20 Global Health Summit whether to waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines
Supporters say it will allow more manufacturers to produce life-saving vaccines and increase their supply to poorer countries