Levine dismisses Comirnaty labeling issue as ‘misinformation’
By Guy Page
Gov. Phil Scott thinks financial incentives will help students “get enthusiastic about the process” of widespread vaccination. He’s pressing on with mandatory mandatory vaccination despite concern about fraudulent Covid-19 vaccine cards. And Health Commissioner Mark Levine dismisses concern about the lack of labeled, approved Cormirnaty vaccine as “misinformation.”
Below, find a transcript from yesterday’s press conference (at 1:18:20 mark) of state leaders’ answers to three questions asked by the Vermont Daily Chronicle.
Chronicle: Governor, your new school guidance gives students a say on how to spend millions in state grants if their school gets to 80%. It’s dangling a lot of money in front of children. Are you trying to incentivize children to exert peer pressure? In any case, how will you prevent zealous students from ‘stigmatizing,’ to use Commissioner Levine’s word, or even bullying uncooperative peers?
Scott: We haven’t gotten specific as to whether it’s going to be the 80 percent or whatever benchmarks we come up with. I think it’s a good project for kids to get involved in. I think they should be involved in determining whether they get vaccinated or not. I think it’s just a good exercise and taking full advantage of their own health. It’s a learning experience for them.
“We will be, I’m sure, our educational partners – teachers and superintendents and principals and so forth – will be monitoring this situation. But we want them to get enthusiastic about the process. We thought this was one way of doing so.”
Chronicle: A UVMMC nurse told me today “a significant number of staff RNs and respiratory therapists are not planning to get vaccinated and will leave jobs if the exemption is not given.” Other health agencies dependent on UVMMC are falling into line with that. So in Vermont, there’s nowhere else for these needed, trained health care providers to work. Are you concerned that your new state employee mandate will create a demand for fake cards, as has been seen in other states?
Scott: “Well, there’s always a concern as we’ve witnessed with the VSP issue. But again, we believe that vaccines are our way out of this. If we want to go back to some sort of normal and not have to live with this in perpetuity, we have to take this on ourselves and mitigate this in the best way that we we know of at this point in time. We believe in the science. We believe that this is the best approach. And we’ll continue to push forward on this.”
Chronicle: Children’s Health Defense says that a close reading of the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine only gives full approval actually to the German BionTech Comirnaty vaccine, of which there’s now almost none in the U.S., and that any vaccine from a Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J vial is actually legally still under the EUA, which has ramifications for any mandate. Are you aware of this concern, and if so what do you think?
Scott passed the question to Dr. Mark Levine, VT Commissioner of Health.
Levine: “I am very aware of this. Thanks for bringing it to the public’s attention. This goes under the category of misinformation, and it is abundant on the internet.
“There have been abundant legal opinions from respected legal scholars and policy makers, none of whom see this as a concern at all. The new name of the vaccine is just that – it’s a name, but it is not a new vaccine. It is the same vaccine that’s been in use. Now that it’s got approval, they’ve given it a true name not just the generic vaccine. But there’s no difference in the formulation or anything. The only difference will be the label will have a name of a vaccine that wasn’t present before. So people who are holding this up in a way of trying to be in the anti-vaccination cadre of people are actually just spreading misinformation.”