US monitoring Russia disinformation related to COVID-19 vaccines

Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Joe Biden’s administration is monitoring efforts tied to Russia’s intelligence services aimed at undermining the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday.

“We are aware of it, we are monitoring it and we are taking steps to address,” Psaki said at a news briefing.

The United States has identified three online publications directed by Russia’s intelligence services that it says are seeking to undermine COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, a State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The outlets “spread many types of disinformation, including about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issue that they can exploit,” Psaki said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the identification of the alleged campaign on Sunday. A Kremlin spokesman denied the U.S. claim that Russia was spreading false information about vaccines to the newspaper.

“We will fight, with every tool we have, disinformation. We are certainly familiar with the approach and tactics of Russian disinformation efforts,” Psaki said, adding that President Joe Biden’s administration will reiterate “at every opportunity” that the vaccines are safe.

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