Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Elon Musk on Tuesday revealed that he took multiple COVID-19 vaccines so that he could travel during the period of intense pandemic restrictions and that after taking his third shot, he nearly ended up hospitalized.
Mr. Musk made the remarks in a post on X that was part of a thread he started as a response to a warning by European Union (EU) officials that X has fallen squarely into the bloc's censorship crosshairs for being found to be the top purveyor of so-called misinformation and disinformation.
"Have you heard dis information?" Mr. Musk captioned his original post, in a play on words that accompanied a video compilation of COVID-19 vaccine news headlines that began with bold initial claims early in the pandemic that the vaccines are "100 percent effective" before steadily dropping lower and lower.
My concern was more the outrageous demand that people *must* take the vaccine and multiple boosters to do anything at all. That was messed up.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2023
Until the Supreme Court invalidated Biden’s exec order, SpaceX and many other companies would have been forced to fire anyone who…
"The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was only 47% effective after 5 months?" reads one of the later headlines, followed by even more negative headlines like "Sweden, Denmark Halt Moderna's Covid Shot for Younger People" and, finally, ones highlighting vaccine-maker profitability amid calls for seemingly endless boosters.
Mr. Musk's meme on waning vaccine efficacy drew a number of comments, including one by political journalist Ed Krassenstein, who raised objections.
"I think efficacy changes are a result of new strains and the vaccine immunity wearing off. It’s stupid anyone ever claimed it was 100% effective. No vaccine is 100% full-proof," he wrote.
Mr. Musk replied by saying that he's not against vaccines in principle, but that he opposes mandates forcing people to get the shot.
"My concern was more the outrageous demand that people *must* take the vaccine and multiple boosters to do anything at all. That was messed up," Mr. Musk wrote.
He added that, until the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated President Joe Biden's executive order imposing a vaccine-or-test mandate for large companies, his company SpaceX "and many other other companies would have been forced to fire anyone who refused to get vaccinated!"
"We would not have done so. I would rather go to prison than fire good people who didn’t want to be jabbed," Mr. Musk continued.
Mr. Musk also revealed that he got COVID-19 and experienced "mild cold symptoms" but took vaccines repeatedly for travel.
"The third shot almost sent me to hospital," Mr. Musk said.
"How many other people out there have symptoms that are actually from the vaccine or Covid treatment, rather than Covid itself?" he asked.
There's a growing body of data suggesting that COVID-19 vaccine side effects are more serious than previously claimed.
Mr. Musk qualified his remarks by saying he's not against vaccines as a matter of principle.
"It’s not like I don’t believe in vaccines—I do. However, the cure cannot be potentially worse than the disease," he said.
"Public debate over efficacy should not be shut down," Mr. Musk continued.
Mr. Musk added that he believes "there is also great potential for curing many diseases using synthetic mRNA, so let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water."
The X chief's post garnered a series of reactions, including a humorous one by the Joe Biden Press Release (Parody) account, which features a photo of a smiling President Joe Biden saying: "I promise you'll be safe after the 42nd booster."
"Just be sure to triple mask, Elon," the account added.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, EU officials took Mr. Musk and X into their censorship crosshairs.
'We Will Be Watching'
A senior European Union official on Sept. 26 accused X of being the top purveyor of disinformation and issued a veiled threat, prompting Mr. Musk to push back by posting the meme highlighting waning vaccine effectiveness and sparking online debate.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the EU’s top commissar on disinformation—European Commission (EC) Vice President Vera Jourova—singled out X as being “the platform with the largest ratio of mis- or disinformation posts.”
Unlike competitors like Facebook and Google, Mr. Musk’s X has refused to participate in the European Union’s (EU) voluntary anti-disinformation effort called the 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation.
While the code is supposedly nonbinding, companies that take part can ease some of their compliance requirements under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which kicked in at the end of August and is mandatory for the biggest tech platforms with over 45 million users in the EU—including X.
After earlier reprimanding Mr. Musk and X for lacking the appetite to self-censor and not taking the EU’s fight against “disinformation” seriously, the EU ramped up its rhetoric on Sept. 26, the day that social media companies like Facebook and Google—but not X—published reports on compliance with the bloc’s new “disinformation” code.
"Mr. Musk knows that he is not off the hook by leaving the code of practice because now we have the Digital Services Act fully enforced," Ms. Jourova said. "So my message for Twitter is you have to comply with the hard law and we will be watching what you are doing."
While X quite the voluntary code in May, it counts as a "very large online platform" under the mandatory Digital Services Act (DSA) and so is subject to stricter content rules.
Ms. Jourova reminded Mr. Musk of the fact that the EU has enforcement tools to pressure the platform into compliance with its content laws.
She made the remarks while providing an update on the 27-nation EU's 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation, which companies like Google, TikTok, and Facebook parent Meta signed up for—but which Mr. Musk's X has snubbed.
Some examples from the reports include Google indicating that it prevented around $33 million in advertising dollars from going to "disinformation actors" and Meta slapped over 40 million pieces of content with factchecking labels.
The new Digital Services Act rules apply to 19 "very large" digital platforms (such as social media networks, websites, and online retailers) with at least 45 million active users in the EU.
The 19 platforms that fall under the umbrella of the new rules are: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Bing, Booking.com, Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Google Shopping, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, X, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Zalando.