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U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday confronted Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel about the increased risk of myocarditis in young men who get Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and whether government employees profiting from it should be allowed to dictate how many times people should get the vaccine.
Rand also revealed what Moderna’s president told him in private about the myocarditis risk — information that contradicted Bancel’s statement.
The exchange took place during a congressional hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
‘The fact that you can’t say it in public is quite disturbing’
Paul asked Bancel, “Is there a higher interest or a higher incidence of myocarditis among adolescent males 16 to 24 after taking your vaccine?”
Bancel responded by saying Moderna cares “deeply” about safety and is “working closely with the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration].”
Paul asked the question and said he was looking for a “yes or no” answer.
“The data from the CDC actually have shown that there’s less myocarditis for people who get the vaccine versus who get COVID infection.”
When pressed for clarification, Bancel reiterated his answer.
“That is not true,” Paul told Bancel. “I’d like to enter into the record six peer-reviewed papers from the [journals] Vaccine, the Annals of Medicine, that say the complete opposite of what you say,” he said.
Paul said he recently spoke with the president of Moderna, whom he said acknowledged the heightened myocarditis risk for young men that Bancel denied.
“I spoke with your president just last week, and he readily acknowledged, in private, that, yes, there is an increased risk of myocarditis,” Paul said.
Paul added, “The fact that you can’t say it in public is quite disturbing.”
Paul pointed out that many countries have acknowledged the scientific studies showing an increased risk of myocarditis in young people, particularly males, from the COVID-19 vaccine and are no longer mandating the vaccine for children.
“There’s a study in Isreal of thousands of patients — and yet you sit here and act as if you’ve never heard of myocarditis and you don’t think it’s an increased risk for young adolescent males when all of the studies who isolate out people by age have found that, yes, there is an increased risk after taking your vaccine.”
Paul said the CDC may try to “force all the kids in America” to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “They’ve got it on their [Child and Adolescent Immunization] schedule.”
“But guess what?” Paul said. “Parents aren’t going to do it. They’ve seen that COVID is not deadly in children.”
In an interview today on The Hill’s “Rising,” Paul said he wouldn’t vaccinate his own children because of the risk of myocarditis.
“I think the risks of the vaccine are greater than the risks of the disease. The risks of the disease are almost non-existent,” Paul said.
Moderna’s $400 million payment to U.S. government sparks questions about conflict of interest
During Wednesday’s hearing, Paul also pointed out that Moderna recently issued a $400 million payment to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as part of a deal between the government agency and Moderna for mRNA technology and intellectual property rights.
He asked Bancel:
“Do you believe it creates a conflict of interest for the government employees who are making money now off of the vaccine to also be dictating the policy about how many times that we have to take the vaccine?”
Bancel said that it was for the U.S. government to assess how that money should be spent.
Paul asked again:
“Do you think it creates a conflict of interest for the same people [who are] deciding the policy of how often we have to take the vaccine to also be making money the more times we take the vaccine? Yes or no?”
Bancel reiterated that it was for the U.S. government to decide how to spend the money Moderna paid the NIAID.
Paul responded by noting that Bancel had no opinion on whether or not it creates a conflict of interest.
Sen. @RandPaul & Moderna CEO exchange on COVID vaccine and myocarditis.
Paul: “I spoke with your president just last week and he readily acknowledged, in private, that yes there is an increased risk of myocarditis. The fact that you can’t say it in public is quite disturbing.” pic.twitter.com/z856U9BasV
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 22, 2023