Moderna is fed up with sensational headlines that are at odds with the facts, complained chairman Noubar Afeyan Venice in a letter to the New York Times that ran in its Oct. 13 print edition.
He was referring to the Times’ article of Oct. 9 that carried the headline “Moderna, Racing for Profits, Keeps COVID Vaccine Out of Reach of Poor.” Ouch.
Venice railed against such a headline because it undermines public trust and demoralizes scientists and others working around the clock for nearly two years to deliver vaccines—both to Americans and to citizens around the globe.
Moderna sees the writing on the wall and has been busy of late with some reputation protection work.
It issued an empty Oct. 7 press release announcing a plan to invest $500M to build a “state-of-the-art” facility somewhere on the continent of Africa. It “expects to begin a process for country and site selection soon.”
Africa is a pretty big place. Moderna may need a lot of time to figure out where to put its plant, assuming one gets built some day.
On Oct. 12, the company published another release, touting the sale of 176.5M doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, at its “lowest-tiered price.” The doses are bound for low-income countries.
Moderna’s PR misfires are puzzling.
The company has gone on a PR hiring spree since it broke into the COVID-19 vaccine business with the help of a $1B investment from US taxpayers via the Operation Warp Speed program.
Ray Jordan, a veteran of Amgen, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, joined Moderna on June 15, 2020 as chief corporate affairs officer.
John Lepore, who was in charge of policy and advocacy at MasterCard, was hired Aug. 12, 2020 as senior VP-government engagement.
Ogilvy Health chief Kate Cronin became chief brand officer on July 12, 2021.
They should be a crackerjack team.
Moderna earned $4B on $6.3B sales during the first-half of this year. That outsized profit is sure to trigger more PR backlash about the sketchy distribution of its COVID-19 vaccine.
Biding away too much time... Joe Biden better find his PR pulse because his approval rating is sinking into TrumpLand territory as the days of Democratic control of the Congress dwindle away.
Right or wrong, it was Biden’s decision to pack his economic agenda into two humongous packages, rather than carve it up into smaller pieces as his hero FDR did during the New Deal era.
It’s incumbent upon Biden to break through the political logjam presented by Senator Joe Manchin and the Enigma who represents Arizona, along with noisy opposition from progressives.
Though Pew Research shows that Biden’s $1.2T infrastructure bill and $3.5T economic package enjoy 2-to-1 national support, the president’s approval rating has dropped from 52.7 percent in June to 44.5 percent according to FiveThirtyEight.
The public watches as Biden suffers potshots from the progressive wing of the Democratic party who view any reduction in the size of the Build Back Better plan as a defeat. That all-or-nothing mentality may result in zilch.
People yearn for a leadership transformation from Sleepy Joe to Scrappy Joe from Scranton.
Wall Street Journal columnist Gerry Steib notes that Biden is on the cusp of achieving “perhaps the most significant one-year increase in spending on domestic programs since the Great Depression.”
That significant spending hike depends on his willingness to scale back the Build Back Better plan to spending of about $1.9T and infrastructure to $1T in order to win a thumbs-up from Manchin and the Enigma.
Those numbers combined with the $1.9T COVID-19 relief and stimulus plan approved in March, would drive total spending near the $5T mark. That’s five times the funding that Barack Obama gained during the 2008 financial crisis.
Biden needs to play up the historic nature of his downsized spending plan to counter the negative spin by progressives.
He should give his messaging guru Anita Dunn of SKDKnickerbocker a call and then get to work snatching a victory from the jaws of political embarrassment and possible defeat.