The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bankrolled the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to the tune of $11 million to promote COVID-19 vaccination as “safe and effective” for pregnant women, according to an investigation published this week by attorney Maggie Thorp.
Documents obtained by Thorp through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that the CDC and ACOG entered into multiple “cooperative agreements” to carry out work largely designed and controlled by the CDC and contingent on ACOG’s adherence to the CDC’s policies on COVID-19 infection and control.
ACOG is the “premier” professional membership organization for obstetricians and gynecologists with more than 60,000 members across the Americas, its website reports.
Broadly, the grants supported the development of social media communications strategies, toolkits supporting “effective COVID-19 vaccination conversations” between doctors and patients, and the hiring of a global public health communications firm, APCO Worldwide, to produce various communications materials.
According to Thorp, from December 2020, when the vaccines came on the market, through July 21, 2021, ACOG held a neutral position on vaccination during pregnancy, recommending that pregnant women “be free to make their own decision regarding COVID-19 vaccination.”
But that recommendation “abruptly changed on July 30, 2020,” Thorp said, to recommend vaccination for pregnant women.
Today, ACOG “recommends that all eligible persons aged 6 months and older, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series,” and a booster.
The money for the grants comes from COVID-19-related federal funding opportunities, such as the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the CARES Act, according to the grant documents.
Grant recipients, and any “flow-down” organizations they may award money from these grants to, must comply with “existing and future directives and guidance” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the CDC’s parent organization, regarding the control and spread of COVID-19.
That also includes sharing any data collected in grant-funded activities, including COVID-19 testing data, with the CDC.
‘Vast, covert government operation unleashed … at the height of our fear and isolation’
This CDC-ACOG collaboration forms part of the CDC’s and HHS’ strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccination encapsulated in its “We Can Do This” public education campaign.
Through the campaign, HHS and CDC sought in their own words to “motivate behavior change,” through strategic messaging, often developed by public relations firms, using “market research, key messages, partnerships and outreach, paid and earned media, and sample creative,” across all areas of people’s lives.
With $3 billion in federal funding from the Biden White House for states to distribute to local agencies and nonprofits and hundreds of millions of dollars in direct grants to medical associations and nonprofits, the HHS and CDC sought to train and fund “trusted messengers” such as teachers, religious leaders, social media influencers, community leaders and members and others, who would deliver the CDC’s message, but without the CDC’s brand.
This also included, Thorp wrote, creating the COVID-19 Community Corps — reminiscent of Theodore Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps work relief program that put millions to work during the Great Depression — described as “a nationwide, grassroots network of local voices people know and trust to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.”
The COVID-19 Community Corps targeted “vaccine-hesitant” populations, including pregnant women, Thorp’s investigation revealed.
Thorp called the “trusted messengers” the CDC’s “Trojan horses” that used interpersonal relations of trust to enter into people’s personal lives and communicate the CDC’s message.
She told The Defender:
“I think what is most disturbing is that the government was targeting these interpersonal relationships by using people who were in our inner circles at a time when everyone felt isolated and fearful.
“Interpersonal relationships were exploited in a way that I personally felt was very unethical because it exploited and capitalized on people’s vulnerabilities. Many felt isolated from so many people and their normal activities and routines.
“It was essentially a vast, covert government operation unleashed on us when we were at our most vulnerable, at the height of our fear and isolation.”
CDC, ACOG had data showing risks to pregnant women but pushed vaccines anyway
Dr. James Thorp, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and maternal-fetal medicine physician who also contributed to the research, told The Defender he thought it was particularly troubling that regulatory agencies and medical associations were aware of risks to pregnant women and yet pushed the vaccines.
Red flags in Pfizer’s data regarding the possible adverse effects of the vaccines for pregnant women were leaked in 2021, according to James Thorp. He said:
“They had the data. So they must have said, ‘Okay, we’re not going to be transparent with the data. We’re going to denigrate their data and our own data (VAERS and Pfizer 5.3.6), and suggest that — all the morbidity and danger signals and mortality, we’re just gonna brush it off.
‘And we’re going to spend $13 billion on psychological operations, fifth-generation war, to convince everybody in the world that it is safe and effective and necessary in the most vulnerable populations: pregnant women, pre-born and newborn babies, and the next most vulnerable population, children.’”
“It’s one thing when you’re trying to pull off this mass marketing campaign using marketing tactics that companies have been using for years to sell regular products such as candies, foods or clothing,” James Thorp said, “But they’re doing this with untested gene therapy products in pregnancy.
“The Department of Defense, HHS, CDC, ACOG, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and others are unequivocally attempting to abolish a highly-revered, God-ordained, gold standard doctrine that has been memorialized and honored and has withstood the scientific test of time over millennia: Never give novel substances in pregnancy without short-term and long-term outcome studies in the offspring.
“I will not allow this charade to continue. The reproductive toxicology studies are damning as evidenced by Alexandra Latypova, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry demonstrating major problems — miscarriages, birth defects and many other concerns.
“Did not these governmental agencies and medical organizations learn their lessons from the thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol [DES] disasters of the last century? The COVID-19 gene therapies make thalidomide and DES look like prenatal vitamins.
“If one does not understand history they will be destined to repeat it on an even grander scale.”
Maggie Thorp added that if the HHS and CDC were directing people’s behavior as they explicitly sought to through these grants, “Then there is no informed consent happening.”
CDC participated in ‘all aspects of carrying out’ ACOG grants
The cooperative agreements stipulated by the CDC would have “substantial programmatic involvement” after the grant is awarded. Above and beyond the monitoring and review typical of CDC grants, in these cases, CDC program staff would also “assist, coordinate, or participate in all aspects of carrying out the awards.”
Maggie Thorp identified the grants on USAspending.gov and got the details through a FOIA request, but the response was heavily redacted.
One grant set an April 30, 2021, deadline — which she noted was prior to when ACOG publicly recommended vaccination for pregnant women — to create an “Emergency Resource Request Tool (ERR)” to target OB-GYNs “and the women they serve.”
The purpose of the ERR tools changed over time. By March 2022, they were focused on “developing, maintaining, and promoting tools to combat misinformation on COVID-19, which has emerged as a significant barrier to the uptake of vaccination during pregnancy,” Maggie Thorp quoted from the FOIA documents.
Another ERR tool involved developing some type of communications tool — it is unclear from the redacted FOIA specifically what it entailed — that would be piloted by ACOG and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is another COVID-19 Community Corps member.
Another $300,000 went to a contract with APCO Worldwide, “a global public health communication vendor” to develop a COVID-19 Social Media Communications toolkit to provide “key messaging and talking points around COVID-19 for dissemination,” to create virtual training sessions for ACOG members, and to develop a podcast series for members to keep them up-to-date on CDC recommendations.
In October 2021, a multi-year grant addressing breast cancer and other maternal health issues was revised to direct $3,000,000 toward “Engaging Women’s Health Care Providers for Effective COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations” and $300,000 toward “Improving Ob/Gyn’s Ability to support COVID-19 Vaccination, Mental Health, Social Support.”
That grant was renewed in 2022, with $2 million toward the “Vaccines Conversations” effort.
Rather than coordinate plans and messages with its membership, ACOG, in exchange for this grant money, committed to working closely with the CDC, sharing information and efforts, discussing recommendations and meeting frequently to “ensure that recommendations are aligned between the two organizations.”
Clinicians told to document vaccine refusal in medical records
Specific details of the grants were heavily redacted in the FOIA documents Maggie Thorp received. But she pointed to ACOG’s website for evidence of the grant work. On one page, the organization offers a “Conversation Guide” with messaging language on the vaccine for physicians.
The key advice to clinicians is that all pregnant women should be vaccinated and boosted at any time in their pregnancy, that those who refuse should have it documented in their record, and that follow-up visits should focus on continuing to try to convince them to accept vaccination.
Or, in Maggie Thorp’s words, clinicians were to “urgently push the COVID-19 shots in pregnant patients blindly and repeatedly, without the need for offering informed consent. If you cannot convince the patient to take the COVID-19 ‘vaccine, document this discussion in the patient’s electronic medical record’ for what is likely reporting to the CDC.”
The website also lists “key messages” that should be communicated to pregnant women, including that COVID-19 is quite dangerous for pregnant women, and that there “may be” increased risk of stillbirth. But, the “messaging list” says, there are no “maternal or fetal” effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccines, proven by a “growing body of evidence.”
These recommended talking points remain on ACOG’s website today.
The CDC promoted and continues to promote, the COVID-19 vaccines as safe for pregnant women despite recent revelations that as early as January 2021, the U.S. regulatory agencies were aware of indications in Pfizer’s own data that the vaccines pose serious risks for pregnant women.