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Groups pushing vaccine passports, mandates, were quietly funded by Pfizer

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Pfizer, the manufacturer of one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the country, silently funded groups advocating for vaccine mandates and passports, according to a report by Lee Fang (paywalled).

In August 2021, the president of the Chicago Urban League, Karen Freeman-Wilson, in an interview on TV, argued that vaccine mandates would not disproportionately harm the black community.

“The health and safety factor here far outweighs the concern about shutting people out or creating a barrier,” Freeman-Wilson said at the time.

Related: How vaccine passports are crushing freedom, privacy, and civil liberties

Earlier that year, the Chicago Urban League had received $100,000 from Pfizer for a project on promoting “vaccine safety and effectiveness.” The organization did not list Pfizer as a donor or partner on its website and Freeman-Wilson did not mention the funding during the interview.

The Chicago Urban League grant is one of many Pfizer-awarded groups to promote and encourage vaccine mandates. The pharmaceutical giant awarded grants to public health organizations, civil rights groups, as well as consumer, medical, and doctors’ groups. Most of these groups did not disclose the funding from Pfizer.

Corporate watchdog group the National Consumers League announced support for “government and employer mandates” requiring Covid vaccination in August 2021. The announcement came at around the same time the organization received a $75,000 grant from Pfizer for “vaccine policy efforts.”

Houston-based public health organization the Immunization Partnership publicly lobbied against bills introduced in Texas aimed at banning vaccine passports and vaccine mandates. The organization did not disclose that Pfizer gave it $35,000 earlier that year for “legislative advocacy.”

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