Texas lawsuit claims Pfizer exaggerated effectiveness of Covid vaccine

<span>Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP</span>
Photograph: David Zalubowski/AP

The attorney general of Texas is suing the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, alleging that it exaggerated the effectiveness of its Covid-19 vaccine and deceived the public.

Ken Paxton announced the lawsuit on Thursday after filing it in Lubbock state district court in north-west Texas, the Texas Tribune reported.

Related: Texas governor bars vaccine mandates in state as deaths approach 70,000

Paxton’s suit comes as a consensus of health experts and scientists have said that the vaccine prevents severe infection and death from Covid-19.

Paxton accused Pfizer of “[engaging] in false, deceptive, and misleading acts and practices by making unsupported claims regarding the company’s Covid-19 vaccine in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, according to a press release shared to X, formerly known as Twitter.

Paxton argued that Pfizer’s claims about effectiveness implied that it would effectively end the Covid-19 pandemic, and that it failed to do so within a year of being introduced.

The lawsuit also added that claims the vaccine was 95% effective were not accurate, and that Covid-19 infection as well as death rates worsened as the vaccine became increasingly available.

Pfizer released results on the effectiveness of Covid in November 2020, finding that the shot was 95% effective in the first 28 days after receiving the vaccine.

The suit also claims that Pfizer “[conspired]” to silence those who were critical of the shot, common arguments made amid other anti-vaccine figures.

Paxton’s suit asks that Pfizer be prohibited from “making representations about the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine”, the Hill reported.

The attorney general is also requesting $10,000 for every alleged violation by Pfizer, in addition to other financial restitution. The total civil penalties against Pfizer total up to more than $10m, according to Reuters.

In a statement, Pfizer said the “state’s case has no merit”, adding that the vaccine has been administered to 1.5 billion people “and helped protect against severe Covid-19 outcomes, including hospitalization and death”.

“The representations made by the company about its Covid-19 vaccine have been accurate and science-based,” it read.

The lawsuit is Paxton’s second against Pfizer in November. The attorney general previously sued the pharmaceutical company and an additional supplier for allegedly altering quality-control tests on ADHD medication for children.