White House says it's aware of Russia disinformation related to COVID-19 vaccines


FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday that President Joe Biden's administration was monitoring efforts tied to Russia's intelligence services aimed at undermining the Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc coronavirus vaccines.

"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. [L4N2L50ZX]

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 Journal.

"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.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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