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In this corner, weighing in with intense gravitas, is ophthalmologist and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul: “You sit here and act as if you’ve never heard of myocarditis … when all of the studies … have found that yes, there’s an increased risk after taking your vaccine.”
His opponent, weighing in with oblique corporate-speak, is COVID-19 vaccine producer Moderna Corp. Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel: “Let me say we care deeply about safety.”
They were facing each other during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Wednesday.
As the first round began, Paul aggressively went at Bancel with a claim of conflict of interest. Moderna, the senator said, gave the National Institute of Health $400 million, yet that agency determines the number of vaccinations to be administered.
A brief dodge by Bancel: “Good morning, Senator,” he said before trying to deflect the blow by saying the $400 million went to “another pattern they develop, not related to COVID.”
While the money can be used for COVID, according to the CEO, “It’s for the U.S. government to say how the money should be spent.”
Paul ignored the dodge, again throwing the same type of punch by reiterating the idea of a conflict of interest for the Moderna-funded NIH to say “how often we have to take the vaccine to also be making money [for Moderna] the more times we take the vaccine.”
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