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The lobbying apparatuses at both vaccine-reliant companies – in terms of the number of lobbyists hired and the overall budget deployed to influence government officials – have seen dramatic increases since 2019.
In October alone Pfizer tapped Sudafi Henry, Joe Biden’s former legislative affairs director from his days as Vice President.
Another recent hire is Kwabena Nsiah, a former staffer for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and top aide to director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Nsiah also worked in Congress for over eight years, most recently as Policy Director for the Congressional Black Caucus and on the Joint Economic Committee as a Senior Policy Advisor.
Among Pfizer’s robust lobbying team are alumni of Republican presidential administrations and Congressional offices.
Justin McCarthy, who served under George W. Bush as a Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, and Ben Howard, who served as a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs under Donald Trump, both lobby for the pharmaceutical giant.
Pfizer, which recently received approval for a third booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, has substantially increased its lobbying budget. In 2019, the company spent $11,000,000 on lobbying efforts before increasing the total to $13,150,000 – the highest total since 2010.
In 2019, the company retained 77 lobbyists before the total grew to a team of 102 lobbyists in 2020. So far in 2021, Pfizer has declared 92 lobbyists.
While Moderna retained just one lobbyist throughout all of 2019 and added one lobbyist the following year, in 2021, the company has already hired an additional twelve lobbyists, representing a 600 percent increase in the company’s total lobbying force.
In 2019, Moderna spent $40,000 on lobbying and $280,000 in 2020, and just halfway into 2021, the company has already spent $290,000.