Written by Megan Redshaw, JD via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The leading professional membership organization for obstetricians and gynecologists aaccepted $11.8 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promote COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women, despite the exclusion of pregnant women from clinical trials and normative data showing had the vaccine not tested for safety during pregnancy.
To learn more about the COVID-19 funding received by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) during the pandemic and what prompted the organization’s guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women, the Dr. James Thorp, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. and the maternal-fetal medicine physician made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in 2022 to HHS.
“My request was simple: I just wanted documents related to the three “cooperative agreement” grants that HHS/CDC made to ACOG during the pandemic.one of which was for $11.8 million, which was listed in an open source of publicly available data for federal spending, USASPENDING.gov,” Thorp told The Epoch Times.
Documents obtained by Dr. thorp show ACOG, on February 1, 2021, received the first of three cooperative agreement grants from HHS and the CDC. Receipt of the COVID-19 grant money was contingent upon ACOG granting substantial control over CDC-funded projects to the agency and ACOG’s full compliance with CDC guidelines on infection and control of COVID-19.
“This is a cooperative agreement, and CDC will have substantial programmatic involvement post-award. Substantial involvement is in addition to all post-award monitoring, technical assistance, and performance reviews conducted in the course of normal management of federal funds,” the documents state.
ACOG also agreed to allow CDC program staff to “assist, coordinate, or participate in the conduct of efforts under the award.”
The contracts also provided for funding to return to HHS if ACOG did not adhere to the federal government’s message that the COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective for pregnant women and new mothers.
HHS funds ‘Trusted Messengers’ to boost vaccine confidence
HHS, on April 1, 2021, released the “Community Corps COVID-19,” a “national network of trusted local voices and community leaders to advocate for vaccinations,” with more than 275 founding member organizations, including ACOG, that had the “ability to reach millions of Americans.” An archived HHS webpage indicates that the program provides fact-based public health information and resources through HHS in partnership with CDC.
As part of the multibillion-dollar program, Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy met with founding members. to discuss the next phase of the “White House public education campaign” to promote vaccines and increase vaccine confidence.
Members received weekly updates on the “latest scientific and medical updates, vaccine talking points, social media tips, infographics, fact sheets with timely and accurate information, and tools to help people register for an appointment and get vaccinated.”
“As part of the COVID-19 Community Corps, HHS awarded billions of federal dollars to recruit what HHS called “trusted community leaders.” who could push vaccines within our most private relationships,” Thorp said. “Like today’s Trojan horses, these ‘trusted messengers’ would be unique in their ability to permeate every facet of private life.”
ACOG Encourages Members to “Enthusiastically Recommend Vaccination”
The former director of the CDC, Dra. Rochelle Walensky, on April 23, 2021, first announced during a Briefing on COVID-19 at the White House the agency recommended that all pregnant women be vaccinated despite limited data on vaccine safety, as pregnant women were not included in clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Walensky said her decision was based on preliminary findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine on the use of vaccines against COVID-19 during the first 11 weeks of the vaccine launch.
“We know this is a deeply personal decision, and I encourage people to talk to their doctors and primary care providers to determine what is best for them and their baby.” said Dr. Walensky.
ACOG, on July 30, 2021, along with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), began recommends vaccination against COVID-19 in pregnancy
ACOG, founded in 1951, is the leading organization representing physicians and specialists in obstetric care, with more than 60,000 members. ACOG sets the standard of care for pregnant women, and obstetrician-gynecologists generally follow the recommendations made by ACOG, just as pediatricians follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The SMFM represents more than 5,500 people with additional years of formal training in maternal-fetal medicine, making them “highly qualified experts and leaders in the care of complicated pregnancies.”
ACOG Past President Dr. J. Martin Tucker, in a statement on the organization’s website, encouraged members to “enthusiastically recommend vaccination” to their pregnant patients and to emphasize the “known safety of vaccines and the increased risks of serious complications associated with infection with COVID- 19, including death, during pregnancy.”
“It is clear that pregnant people need to feel safe in the decision to choose vaccinationand a strong recommendation from their OB-GYN could make a significant difference for many pregnant people,” Tucker added. “Pregnant people should feel confident that choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 not only protects them, but also protects their families and communities,” he added.
Dr William Grobman, president of SMFM, said high-risk pregnancy experts should “strongly recommend” that pregnant women get vaccinated and that vaccination is “safe before, during or after pregnancy”. despite the absence of clinical trial data.
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