On Monday, several influencers in France said that they had been contacted by a U.K.-based communications agency, which offered them a fee to post messages discrediting the Pfizer vaccine as dangerous.
“I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know if it came from France or from abroad,” commented French health minister Olivier Véran on Tuesday. “It's seedy, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible and it doesn't work.”
The French health ministry says it is monitoring the “obvious attempt to spread disinformation” from a communications agency with a fake London address. “A large majority of the French today want the vaccine and I don’t believe that the velleities, whether they come from outside the country or elsewhere, trying to make negative communication are likely to divert the French from vaccination.”
Leo Grasset, who has a popular YouTube science channel with some 1.2 million subscribers, tweeted, “Strange. I’ve received a partnership proposal which consists of slamming the Pfizer vaccine in a video.
“Colossal budget, client wants to remain incognito, and I'd have to hide the sponsorship.
“Incredible. The address of the London agency that contacted me is fake. They never had a presence there, it’s a laser surgery centre. All staff have weird LinkedIn profiles.”
The profiles he found have now disappeared, but he noticed that “everybody there has worked in Russia.”
The agency, reportedly known as Fazze, is based in the U.K. but is not a U.K. registered business and in 2018 it was domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.
It has been reported the agency offered influencers up to €2,000. On its website, the agency is described as, “Fazze.com is a marketplace that connects bloggers and advertisers. We built in class tools to connect them, enabling branded content that reaches the desired audience and brings more revenue for both parties!”
According to a Cevipof/Opinion Way poll published on Friday in Le Monde, 65% of French people surveyed said they want to be vaccinated or already have been. This figure is 16% higher than the same poll taken in February. 73% say they fall in line with the idea that “the collective benefit of the vaccination is worth getting vaccinated against Covid-19.”
20% replied “no” they will not be vaccinated (down from 34% in February) while 13% of respondents are still hesitant (versus 41% in February).
Other points revealed that 75% approve the proposal of a vaccination campaign “without order of priority” and 53% think that vaccines will make it possible to “exit quickly from the crisis.”
54% are “against” and 43% are “for” accepting “any authorized vaccine; ”51% find a mandatory vaccination for all people residing in France “fair”; 46% are opposed to the idea.