October 7, 2021
-The Washington Times
No pharmaceutical company is eager to broadcast the role that abortion-derived fetal cell lines played in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, and that reportedly includes Pfizer.
Project Veritas released a video Wednesday in which Melissa Strickler, Pfizer manufacturing quality auditor, produced what she identified as internal emails that showed top officials discussing how to downplay in corporate communications the role of embryonic cell lines in the COVID-19 vaccine program.
“If they’re being this deceptive about it, I don’t feel comfortable being silent,” said Ms. Strickler in the video interview with Project Veritas President James O’Keefe.
The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute reported in December that both Pfizer and Moderna used the abortion-derived cell lines in their lab testing, although not in the development or production of the COVID-19 vaccinations.
What the emails leaked by Ms. Strickler reveal is the corporate strategy to sidestep the hot-button issue, which has stirred religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccination and prompted many to seek a religious exemption to vaccine mandates from employers and the federal government.
In a Feb. 4 email posted by Project Veritas, Vanessa Gelman, Pfizer senior director for worldwide research, development and medical communications, said the pharmaceutical firm should steer clear of the topic.
“We have been trying as much as possible not to mention the fetal cell lines,” said the email.
She followed up in a Feb. 9 email, writing, “We want to avoid having the information on the fetal cells floating out there.”
“[W]e believe that the risk of communicating this right now outweighs any potential benefit we could see, particularly with general members of the public who may take this information and use it in ways we may not want out there,” said Ms. Gelman in an email. “We have not received any questions from policy makers or media on this issue in the last few weeks, so we want to avoid raising this if possible.”
She cited a statement that officials “have tried really hard not to share unless it’s strictly necessary and mission-critical,” which read: “One or more cell lines with an origin that can be traced back to human fetal tissue has been used in laboratory tests associated with the vaccine program.”
Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer chief scientific officer, said in email that “HEK293T cells, used for the IVE assay, are ultimately derived from an aborted fetus.”
He added that “the Vatican doctrinal committee has confirmed that they consider it acceptable for Pro-Life believers to be immunized. Pfizer’s official statement couches the answer well and is what should be provided in response to an outside inquiry.”
The Washington Times has reached out to Pfizer for comment.