Pfizer board member leaned on Twitter to censor tweet arguing for natural immunity over vaccination

Pfizer board member and former FDA head Scott Gottlieb used his influence to pressure Twitter to flag a tweet that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines, the latest batch of ‘Twitter files’ show.

Documents leaked to controversial reporter Alex Berenson allege that Dr Scott Gottlieb leaned on the social media company to obscure a relatively innocuous post that cast doubt about the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness and suggested natural immunity was more effective.

The tweet – made by a former Government health official – was subsequently slapped with a ‘Misleading’ label, despite the debate around immunity still dividing scientists to this day.

The revelations are part of the Twitter files, a cache of internal documents and correspondences that have recently been made publicly available to a select number of journalists. Their aim is to highlight a range of censorship decisions Twitter made prior to the takeover by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk.

Dr Gottlieb called Dr Giroir’s relatively innocuous tweet ‘corrosive’ in an internal email to company higher-ups, who apparently were not made aware of Gottlieb’s financial ties to Pfizer

The Twitter post was 'corrosive,' Gottlieb wrote worried it would 'end up going viral and driving news coverage' in a negative way, possibly imperiling Pfizer's profits

The Twitter post was ‘corrosive,’ Gottlieb wrote worried it would ‘end up going viral and driving news coverage’ in a negative way, possibly imperiling Pfizer’s profits

Dr Gottlieb is the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Trump and a member of Pfizer’s Board of Directors.

Documents show that on August 27, 2021, Dr Gottlieb emailed Todd O’Boyle, a top lobbyist in Twitter’s Washington office, after seeing a tweet disparaging the Covid vaccines.

The tweet was posted by Dr Brett Giroir, another government health official under the Trump administration, and touted the superiority of natural immunity over vaccine-conferred immunity.

Dr Gottlieb, who currently has a Twitter following of about 550,000, lobbied for the Tweet to be flagged as misinformation. 

Dr Gottlieb said in the email the language could prove ‘corrosive’ to the nationwide Covid vaccination campaign. 

And even though Twitter could not prove outright that the tweet was a violation of its misinformation policy, it was slapped with a ‘Misleading’ label anyway.

Dr Gottlieb himself never requested that the tweet be labeled as such, just lamenting that the corrosive message would wind up ‘driving news coverage’ in a negative way.

Mr Berenson argued that Dr Gottlieb’s motivation for quashing the tweet, which cast doubt on the necessity of the vaccines, was financial. In saying that natural immunity through prior exposure to the virus was superior to that conferred by the vaccine, Dr Brett Giroir was placing Pfizer’s sky-high profits in jeopardy.

Dr Gottlieb’s financial ties to Pfizer were not flagged in internal emails regarding the tweet. 

He was spoken about by execs at the social media company as ‘the former FDA commissioner’, but not a Pfizer stakeholder who would be affected by waning vaccine uptake.

Dr Scott Gottlieb, left, served as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under the Trump administration before joining Pfizer's Board of Directors in June 2019

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson was banned from Twitter for sharing anti-vaccine sentiments but sued his way back onto the platform. Now, he's working to uncover unjust censorship on the platform

Both Dr Gottlieb and Mr Berenson have huge Twitter megaphones – 553k followers and 455k followers respectively

In his Substack post, Mr Berenson wrote: ‘By suggesting some people might not need Covid vaccinations, the tweet could raise questions about the shots. Besides being former FDA commissioner, a CNBC contributor, and a prominent voice on Covid public policy, Gottlieb was a senior board member at Pfizer, which depended on mRNA jabs for almost half its $81 billion in sales in 2021. Pfizer paid Gottlieb $365,000 for his work that year.’

Alex Berenson, a former New York Times journalist and prolific novelist, has become one of Twitter’s most high-profile vaccine skeptics. One of his ‘hot takes’ got him temporarily banned from the platform last summer.

The tweet in question said: ‘It doesn’t stop infection. Or transmission. Don’t think of it as a vaccine. Think of it – at best – as a therapist with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS. And we want to mandate it? Insanity.’