A Pfizer board member who used to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lobbied Twitter to take action against a post accurately pointing out that natural immunity is superior to COVID-19 vaccination, according to an email released on Jan. 9.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote on Aug. 27, 2021, to Twitter executive Todd O’Boyle to request Twitter take action against a post from Dr. Brett Giroir, another former FDA commissioner.
“This is the kind of stuff that’s corrosive. Here he draws a sweeping conclusion off a single retrospective study in Israel that hasn’t been peer reviewed. But this tweet will end up going viral and driving news coverage,” Gottlieb wrote.
Giroir had written that it was clear natural immunity, or post-infection immunity, “is superior to vaccine immunity, by ALOT.” He said there was no scientific justification to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination if a person had natural immunity. “If no previous infection? Get vaccinated!” he also wrote.
Giroir pointed to what was at the time a preprint study from Israeli researchers that found, after analyzing health records, that natural immunity provided better protection than vaccination. The study was later published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases following peer review.
Researchers said the data “demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.” BNT162b2 is the trade name for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is the main shot used in Israel.
Gottlieb’s email triggered messages on Jira, Twitter’s internal messaging system, according to journalist Alex Berenson, who was granted access to Twitter’s internal files by CEO Elon Musk.
“Please see this report from the former FDA commissioner,” O’Boyle wrote.
A Twitter analyst who reviewed the post determined it did not violate any misinformation rules but Twitter still put a tag on it, claiming to all users who viewed it that it was “misleading” and directing them to a link that would show “why health officials recommend a vaccine for most people.” The tag prevented people from replying to, sharing, or liking Giroir’s post.
Gottlieb, Twitter, and Giroir, now the CEO of Altesa BioSciences, did not respond to requests for comment.