Recently, a storm of speculation swirled around Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting it could be the culprit behind the recent respiratory outbreak in China.
This conjecture, rooted in a misinterpretation of Pfizer's vaccine documentation, suggested that the listing of "Pneumonia mycoplasma" as a potential adverse event indicated the vaccine's role in causing the outbreak.
For instance, one tweet, almost amassing a million views, claimed that: "The Pneumonia that is circulating in China is called Myco Plasma Pneumonia and is listed in the Pfizer Documents as an ADVERSE REACTION!!! THEY CAN HIDE NO MORE THEY CREATED A PANDEMIC WITH A BIOWEAPON ☢️" (Figure 1).
But this interpretation is a classic case of misunderstanding the nuances of medical documentation and pharmacovigilance.
Pfizer's documents, particularly the "Cumulative Analysis of Post-authorization Adverse Event Reports" from April 2021, include a comprehensive list of potential adverse events. It doesn't mean the vaccine will cause these adverse events, which is another common misinformation. This list, featuring Pneumonia mycoplasma, is not an admission of causation but a precautionary measure.
The list is meant for healthcare professionals to report any such occurrences to identify potential patterns that warrant further investigation. This practice is standard in pharmacovigilance, ensuring patient safety and efficacy of medications post-authorization.
Pneumonia mycoplasma, caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, typically results in mild respiratory infections. But it can escalate to severe pneumonia, especially in children with still-developing immune systems. This bacterium is one of the leading drivers behind the new pneumonia outbreak in China.
The CDC has also emphasized the absence of any established causal link between mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and pneumonia. Pfizer also responded, underscoring the lack of evidence supporting the claim that mRNA vaccines are responsible for the new pneumonia outbreak in China.