Pfizer REJECTED the offer to develop Covid vaccine in January 2020

Pfizer REJECTED the offer to develop Covid vaccine in January 2020 because executives thought the virus would be ‘controlled’

  • Pfizer executives initially thought that coronavirus would be rapidly contained
  • They told BioNTech founders ‘guys, this is not going to work’ in January 2020 
  • Dr Özlem Türeci and husband Dr Ugur Sahin believed it would only be a ‘matter of time’ before Pfizer changed its mind; a deal was announced a month later

Pfizer executives initially thought that coronavirus would be rapidly contained so refused the offer to develop a vaccine. 

The pharmaceutical giant told BioNTech founders Dr Özlem Türeci and her husband Dr Ugur Sahin ‘guys, this is not going to work’ in January 2020 as the Covid outbreak was developing, The Telegraph reports. 

The crucial mRNA technology was at the time also reportedly thought to be too experimental by vice-president and chief scientific officer for viral vaccines Dr Phil Dormitzer, who thought coronavirus would be ‘controlled’ like Sars and Mers. 

Dr Sahin said: ‘After the phone call with Phil (Dormitzer), I just thought for a second and said ”we will call him again in a few weeks”.’

The initial rejection had come only a few days after Turkish born Drs Sahin and Tureci made the choice to dedicate BioNTech to creating an mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine

The couple believed it would only be a ‘matter of time’ before Pfizer changed its mind. A deal was announced a month later. 

The initial rejection had come only a few days after Turkish born Drs Sahin and Tureci made the choice to dedicate BioNTech to creating an mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine. 

The revelation is told in a new book, The Vaccine, set to be released this week. 

The crucial mRNA technology was at the time also reportedly thought to be too experimental by vice-president and chief scientific officer for viral vaccines Dr Phil Dormitzer, who thought coronavirus would be ‘controlled’ like Sars and Mers

It comes after the Health Secretary said today that authorities have decided not to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and other crowded events in England. 

The move appears to be reversing course amid opposition from some of the Conservative government’s supporters in Parliament.

Sajid Javid said the government has shelved the idea of vaccine passports for now but could reconsider the decision if COVID-19 cases rise exponentially once again.

‘We’ve looked at it properly and whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,’ Mr Javid told the BBC.

The U-turn came just days after the government’s vaccines minister and the culture secretary suggested that vaccine passports would still be necessary, despite growing opposition from lawmakers. Such passports are required in other European countries, like France.

In particular, members of the governing Conservative Party have objected to such passports as an unacceptable burden on businesses and an infringement on residents’ human rights.

The idea of requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19 has been uncomfortable for many in Britain, where people generally aren’t required to carry identification documents.

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