Pin It
COVID-19 vaccine
Photography Daniel Schludi, via Unsplash

Influencers say they were offered money to discredit the Pfizer vaccine

A Russia-linked PR agency allegedly asked YouTubers to falsely claim that the US company’s COVID-19 jab was responsible for hundreds of deaths

A Russia-linked PR agency has allegedly offered large sums of money to influencers who will publicly discredit Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Several YouTubers and bloggers have shared screenshots of emails they received from a company called Fazze, a supposedly UK-based PR agency. Messages shared by German YouTuber and podcaster Mirko Drotschmann – who has 1.5 million subscribers – show the influencer being asked to share a “data leak” that reveals “a significant number of deaths after the Pfizer vaccination”.

A list of guidelines shared by French science YouTuber Léo Grasset – who has over 1.1 million subscribers – shows the agency asking influencers to avoid using the words ‘advertising’ and ‘sponsored video’, and telling them that the message “should look like an advice to the audience” and come across as their “own independent view”.

The latter post tells influencers that the “main conclusion” of the post should be that “the death rate among the vaccinated by Pfizer is almost three times higher than among the vaccinated by AstraZeneca”, and that “the mainstream media ignores this theme”.

The influencers were told to publish links on their social media sites to reports in Le Monde, Ethical Hacker, and on Reddit about a leaked report that purportedly contains data that backs the claim. As reported by The Guardian, the posts on Ethical Hacker and Reddit have been removed, while the article on Le Monde contains no information about death rates.

According to the publication, Fazze claimed to be based at 5 Percy Street in London, but isn’t registered at the address. It appears that the company has since deleted any contact information from its website. The LinkedIn profile of Fazze’s supposed chief executive officer, Vyacheslav U, shows that he’s based in Moscow – the profile has been deleted, but still appears under a Google search.

French investigative website Fact & Furious shared a number of screenshots of emails sent to influencers, as well as LinkedIn pages of Fazze’s employees – many more of which have also been deleted.

It’s yet to be determined if the smear campaign aimed to promote the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, or was simply just an anti-vaccine push.