Yesterday, the Biden administration announced its plan to offer mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to all Americans in the fall. It’s the latest effort to combat the highly contagious Delta variant, which is driving a surge in hospitalizations in some parts of the country. While there’s ongoing debate among scientists and policymakers on the usefulness of a third dose, the announcement was met with a flurry of misleading claims.
In addition to the usual false or misleading claims about the efficacy and safety of the vaccines, one notable narrative centered on the allegedly nefarious ties of pharmaceutical companies, given the money they are making on the vaccines. Perhaps the loudest voice was former President Donald Trump. Trump attacked the plan to administer booster doses and called it “a moneymaking operation for Pfizer” during a Fox News interview.
“Think of the money involved. An extra shot … How good a business is that?” Trump said. “If you’re a pure businessman, you’d say, ‘you know what, let’s give them another shot,’ that’s another $10 billion of money coming in — the whole thing is crazy.” Clips and quotes from this interview spread on social media sites, garnering thousands of shares. Some of Trump’s supporters, many of whom have refused to get vaccinated, echoed his sentiment.