President Joe Biden decreed on Sept. 9, 2021, that more than 100 million Americans must get COVID-vaccine injections.
But newly disclosed emails show that the Food and Drug Administration finding behind that order, official certification of the jabs as “safe and effective,” was the result of a bureaucratic bait-and-switch.
The FDA had approved COVID vaccines on an emergency-use basis in December 2020, before Biden even took office.
The White House assumed that was the silver bullet to enable Biden to save Americans from COVID.
But it soon became clear that many Americans were hesitating to get jabbed, in part because the FDA approval was solely for emergency use.
Many Americans have long been wary of vaccines, including health-care workers who avoid flu shots.
The president championed vaccines with evangelical fervor.
“You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” he insisted in a July 21, 2021, CNN town hall.
Biden’s claim was false, spurred by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decision to ignore any “breakthrough” COVID infections that did not result in death or hospitalization.
As for the emergency-only approval, Biden assured the audience that “the group of scientists we put together” will “get a final approval” very soon.
In fact, when Pfizer applied for full approval in May 2021, the FDA said it aimed to announce a decision in January 2022.
But that wasn’t fast enough for the Biden White House.
Newly released emails reveal that Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock was concerned because “states cannot require mandatory vaccination” without FDA final approval, according to the chief of FDA’s vaccine-review office, Marion Gruber.
Gruber warned that a thorough evaluation was needed due to “increasing evidence of association of this vaccine and development of myocarditis (especially in young males).”
After Gruber balked, Woodcock placed a loyal subordinate in charge of the process, and the vaccine got full approval Aug. 23.
Biden boasted that day of achieving a COVID “key milestone” and labeled FDA approval the “gold standard,” proving vaccines were safe and effective.
The White House arm-twisting spurred a “mutiny” at the FDA, as Politico put it: Gruber and her top deputy resigned in protest.
When Biden gave his vaccine-mandate speech Sept. 9, he promised to “finish the job [on COVID] with truth, with science.”
But the White House had already buried the truth and effectively exiled dissenting scientists.
Indeed, another key Biden claim had already fallen apart: that vaccines stop transmission.
Late July 2021 brought news that almost 500 vaccinated people contracted COVID on holiday visits to Provincetown, Mass.
On July 30, The Washington Post and New York Times published leaked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents warning that vaccines were utterly failing to stop transmission.
The Times tweeted, “The Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and may be spread by vaccinated people as easily as the unvaccinated.”
Biden White House COVID spokesman Ben Wakana hysterically denounced The WaPo as “completely irresponsible” and flogged the Times with an all-caps outburst: “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.”
But on Aug. 5, CDC chief Rochelle Walensky admitted that vaccines failed to “prevent transmission” of COVID.
The following week, a Mayo Clinic study indicated that the Pfizer vaccine had become only 42% effective — below the standard the FDA normally required for vaccine approval.
None of that mattered to an administration that had decided vaccines were everything: Biden announced his private-employee mandate Sept. 9.
And the FDA final approval prompted many schools, colleges and other organizations to impose their own mandates. (This, when it was already clear that young people faced minimal risk from COVID.)
Yet the vaccines were already proving less effective against the new COVID variants that experts had long predicted would occur.
King Joe could not sweep back the viral tide.
By January 2022, the nation was seeing a million new COVID cases a day, and still-frightening numbers of deaths among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated — while the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s vaccine mandate for 84 million private employees on the 13th.
The pandemic still ended, as pandemics always do: The population reached “herd immunity” — through both vaccination and natural immunity.
The COVID vaccine’s rushed approval was the pharmaceutical version of a riverboat gamble.
Yet the administration is still pushing new jabs, including boosters — ignoring risks such as the threat of myocarditis among vaccinated younger males (a four- to 28-fold elevated risk).
COVID vaccines can still provide protection for the elderly and people with severe health problems.
But since early 2022, most COVID fatalities have occurred among the fully vaccinated.
More medical research is necessary to reveal the benefits and risks of the vaccines.
Meanwhile, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic is demanding a bevy of documents from the FDA on its rushed vaccine approval, while Biden policymakers continue to treat transparency as a plague to avoid at all costs.
If and when federal files are finally opened, how many other COVID policy scandals will be revealed?
James Bovard is the author of 10 books and a Brownstone Institute fellow.