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US Fact check: False claim that FDA vaccine officials resigned to avoid criminal charges

04:35  23 september  2021
04:35  23 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: FDA officials resigned to avoid prosecution for crimes against humanity

a hand holding a piece of cake on a table: Colleen DAmico, a clinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), prepares to administer a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the SIHB, on Dec. 21, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. The Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) received 500 doses of the FDA-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today. © Karen Ducey, Getty Images Colleen DAmico, a clinical pharmacist with Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), prepares to administer a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the SIHB, on Dec. 21, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. The Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) received 500 doses of the FDA-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today.

An Instagram post has mischaracterized the resignations of two top vaccine officials at the Food and Drug Administration.

"Top FDA vaccine officials RESIGN to avoid prosecution for crimes against humanity as White House, CDC commit GENOCIDE," reads a headline in an image posted Sept. 15, which has been liked nearly 300 times in 7 days.

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The image is a screengrab from a Sept. 2 article by Natural News, a website that often shares misinformation and conspiracy theories.

The article says two senior FDA officials resigned because "they know about the criminal indictments that are coming against the genocidal vaccine mass murderers," referring to the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the FDA hasn't commented on the reason behind the officials' resignation, health officials told media outlets it had to do with a disagreement over COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

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The user who posted the image declined to comment. USA TODAY reached out to Natural News for comment.

FDA email gave no reason for resignations

The resignations of Marion Gruber, director of vaccines research and review at the FDA, and Phillip Krause, the deputy director, were announced Aug. 31 in a company-wide email from Peter Marks, the agency's top vaccine regulator.

Gruber's last day at the agency will be Oct. 31, according to a copy of Marks' email that USA TODAY obtained. Krause is expected to leave in November.

The email did not mention the reason why the pair is leaving. FDA spokesperson Alison Hunt didn't elaborate on the reason behind the resignations, either.

Politico, citing an unnamed "current health official," reported Gruber and Krause resigned due to differences with Marks, the director for the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA.

A former official said the resignations were "rooted in anger over the agency's lack of autonomy in the booster planning so far," the news outlet reported.

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The New York Times reported Gruber and Krause were leaving because they disagreed with President Joe Biden's COVID-19 booster shot plan.

Biden has been outspoken about the need for booster shots and announced in August they'd be available, pending FDA approval, as early as Sept. 20 for all Americans who had received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines eight months prior.

Some health experts, however, say there's little data supporting the need for a third shot for everyone at the eight-month mark.

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On Sept. 22, the FDA authorized Pfizer booster shots but only for some people. A committee advising the CDC is set to vote Sept. 23 on third shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

More: FDA authorizes booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older, high-risk workers

More: Who should get COVID-19 boosters first? CDC committee set to vote Thursday – but only on Pfizer vaccine

USA TODAY reached out to Gruber and Krause for comment.

No evidence of criminal charges against CDC, White House, FDA

The burden of proof for any factual claim is on the speaker, and no one making this claim provided any such proof.

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The user who posted the image declined to comment on the matter and didn't provide any supporting evidence. USA TODAY reached out to other users who've shared the claim and none provided a credible source or evidence.

Natural News claimed Gruber and Krause said the White House, CDC and United Nations "have conspired" to keep the FDA out of making decisions regarding vaccines.

But there's no evidence of either official speaking about their resignation publicly. And the email sent to FDA staff members announcing the officials' resignation didn't elaborate on it, either.

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USA TODAY's research also found no evidence the White House, CDC or FDA are facing criminal charges for crimes against humanity or genocide.

The White House wouldn't comment on the matter and referred USA TODAY to the Department of Health and Human Services, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that two FDA officials resigned to avoid prosecution for crimes against humanity. The two officials reportedly resigned due to a disagreement over the push for booster shots from the Biden administration, according to The New York Times and Politico. There's no evidence the White House or CDC are facing charges for crimes against humanity or genocide, and neither the social media users nor Natural News provided any evidence supporting the claim.

Wisconsin reports more cases in kids than any age group; CDC endorses booster shot for millions of older Americans: COVID-19 updates

  Wisconsin reports more cases in kids than any age group; CDC endorses booster shot for millions of older Americans: COVID-19 updates Wisconsin reports more COVID cases in kids than any other age group. Florida schools receive federal aid after defying state mandates. COVID updatesCDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday, hours after the advisers said boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Natural News, Sept. 2, Top FDA vaccine officials RESIGN to avoid prosecution for crimes against humanity as White house, CDC commit GENOCIDE (archived)
  • Vox, June 25, 2020, Facebook's war against one of the internet's worst conspiracy sites
  • FDA, accessed Sept. 16, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (roster)
  • Alison Hunt, Sept. 16, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • Politico, Aug. 31, Biden's top-down booster plan sparks anger at FDA
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 18, Pfizer, Moderna booster shots planned for September; Joe Biden ties nursing home funding to workers' vaccinations: Latest COVID-19 updates
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 5, White House push for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots may be premature, experts warn
  • New York Times, Aug. 31, Two Top F.D.A Vaccine Regulators Are Set to Depart During a Crucial Period
  • @_the_damascuspush, Sept. 16, Instagram direct message exchange with USA TODAY
  • White House Press Office, Sept. 16, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 22, FDA authorizes booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older, high-risk workers
  • USA TODAY, Sept. 22, Who should get COVID-19 boosters first? CDC committee set to vote Thursday – but only on Pfizer vaccine

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that FDA vaccine officials resigned to avoid criminal charges

California to require COVID-19 vaccines for schoolchildren .
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California will become the first U.S. state to require COVID-19 vaccinations for children to attend public and private schools in person in a mandate that could effect millions of students. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that the coronavirus shot will be added to 10 other immunizations already required for school kids, including those for measles and mumps. Exemptions would be granted for medical reasons or because of religious or personal beliefs but the exemption rules haven't been written yet pending public comment.Any student without an exemption who refuses to get the vaccine would be forced to do independent study at home.

usr: 2
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