Anti-Pfizer smear campaign ‘started by Russian troll factories’ to target potential export market countries for Sputnik V vaccine
- Network Contagion Research Institute paper says Russia is to blame for defamation
- It claims troll factories target countries that can buy their own jabs
- Social media influencers are asked by marketing agencies to post content
Russian internet troll factories have been accused of an anti-Pfizer Covid jab smear campaign by a new report from a research institute.
The Network Contagion Research Institute paper says the purpose of the misinformation is to promote the country’s own Sputnik V vaccine.
The tactics used by the smear campaign include releasing and promoting negative coverage of Pfizer and targeting specific countries.
The report says an unusual approach caused marketing companies from Russia to go straight to popular figures to try and get them to trade on their Facebook and Instagram platforms.
It claims: “Russian marketing firms have approached social media influencers in France directly.
“Offering financial compensation for promoting fraudulent, allegedly ‘leaked’ stories about Pfizer vaccine complications.”
People are waiting for doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus disease
In particular, the Pfizer vaccine has been the target of the disinformation campaign
The report says troll factories are targeting countries that are potential Sputnik markets
The report claims that the Russians have also worked to spread the messages in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Canada.
This is because they believe those countries are seen as potential export markets for Sputnik.
NCRI’s paper continues: “In a blog post from the Council on Foreign Relations, members of Novetta, a disinformation tracking company, revealed that in the fall of 2020, long before vaccine makers released data to confirm the vaccine’s effectiveness, the public opinion of Sputnik V in Africa was suspiciously high.
President Putin told Russians that the time would come last month when he would name his possible successor in the Kremlin, but said the choice would ultimately be with voters.
‘Training camps’ for T cells ‘behind strong immune response in adenovirus shots’
Covid vaccines, such as those developed by Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, scientists say promote “training camps” for infection-fighting cells that make the shots highly effective at providing long-term protection.
Research from the University of Oxford suggests that adenovirus vaccines can generate “strong and persistent populations” of a group of cells in the immune system known as “killer” T cells, which find and destroy infected cells turned into virus-making factories.
This type of vaccine uses a harmless, modified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAdOx1) to invade human cells and elicit an immune response.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Immunology, are based on studies conducted on animal models.
Paul Klenerman, Sidney Truelove professor of gastroenterology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and one of the lead authors of the paper, said: ‘Millions of people around the world will have received adenovirus vaccines – not just the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine , but the J&J vaccine, and also the Chinese and Russian versions.
‘The ultimate goal of these vaccines is to induce long-term protection of the immune system using both antibodies and T cells.
“This research helps us understand more about the vaccination process and why the effects on killer T cells are so long-lasting.”
Novetta found that the Russian vaccine had the “second highest percentage of positive citations (66 percent) in African media coverage” and the “second lowest negative perception (11 percent)”.
“In promoting its vaccine, Russia has used the proven propaganda method of publishing a large number of positive news stories on various media platforms that rely on dubious information”
President Vladimir Putin has told Russians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 amid a spate of cases, saying for the first time that he had received Russia’s Sputnik V injection.
The Kremlin had previously said Putin, 68, had received a two-dose vaccine in March and April, but it did not provide further details or release images of him receiving it.
That lack of publicity came into the limelight as officials worried about slow recording to persuade or force people to take the COVID-19 footage, which is readily available.
It comes as President Putin told Russians last month that the time would come when he would name his possible successor in the Kremlin, but said the choice would ultimately be with voters.
Putin said he was asked not to disclose his name so as not to give the product a competitive advantage, but went on to say it was Sputnik V. Moscow has not approved any foreign vaccines.
“I thought I needed to be protected as long as possible. So I chose to be vaccinated with Sputnik V. The army is vaccinated with Sputnik V, and after all I am the commander in chief,” he said.
“After the first shot, I didn’t feel anything at all. About four hours later there was some tenderness where I had the injection. The second I did in the afternoon. At midnight I took my temperature. It was 37.2 (Centigrade). I went to sleep, woke up and my temperature was 36.6. That was it.
“I am not in favor of mandatory vaccination and I will continue to hold this position,” Putin said.
Russia launched its vaccination program in January with the goal of vaccinating 60% of the population in the fall, but the Kremlin said the low uptake this week meant it would miss that target.