Fans Question Sumerian Records’ Tweet About COVID-19 Booster Shots
Some rock fans questioned a tweet from Sumerian Records this week that decried the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent proposal to offer annual COVID-19 booster shots, similar to yearly flu vaccinations.
Sumerian Records, a noted force in rock and metal, is the record label founded in 2006 by music producer and filmmaker Ash Avildsen. Sumerian's current roster of artists includes bands such as Animals as Leaders, Bad Omens, Black Veil Brides and Sleeping With Sirens.
On Wednesday (Mar. 1), Sumerian Records' official Twitter page shared two screenshots of internet news articles about the FDA's proposal and cast doubt on concertgoers' access if live music events were to require proof of a yearly booster for entry. In 2021, Live Nation allowed artists to request concertgoers present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend.
The text of Sumerian Records' tweet reads, "We do not believe anyone should be forced to take a covid booster shot every year for the REST OF THEIR LIVES like the FDA now suggests. That is your personal choice. If you think people shouldn't be allowed at shows unless they have every booster every year, then we disagree."
Response to Sumerian Records' Tweet
Some on Twitter questioned Sumerian Records in their comment replies to the post. "What compels a record label to do this?" one of the commenters asked.
"Freedom of speech," Sumerian Records responded. "Freedom of choice. Freedom of bodily autonomy. Freedom from government control. Freedom from censorship or being bullied for a difference in personal beliefs about your own body. Ya know…. The pillars and foundation of what rock and roll was built on."
Another commenter remarked, "I don't think anyone, including the people making the proposition, think a yearly Covid booster would be mandatory for show attendance. If the model is the current flu vaccine rollout (as current evidence suggests), then nothing would likely change for your average person?"
Sumerian Records replied to them, "we sure would hope so! news called people conspiracy theorists when it was said the definition of 'fully vaccinated' would go beyond two shots. they then changed it to three and even four for many events, places of work, etc. they've changed the rules the whole time."
Former Sumerian Records Artist Responds
Sumerian Records replied in a manner that appeared as if Avildsen was the person doing the correspondence — "no, neither did your singer lol. why don't me you and Spencer have a live discussion? My girlfriend was a front line Covid nurse risking her life every day way before the vaccine existed. I am passionate about this for a reason. Miss ya brother! -Ash"
Current FDA Recommendations
The FDA proposed the boosters during its Jan. 26 Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, its notes published in the resulting paper.
"Future updates to the COVID-19 vaccine composition may potentially be implemented without pre-authorization or pre-approval clinical data for vaccines for which efficacy has previously been demonstrated, similar to the annual strain selection process for seasonal influenza vaccines," the FDA writes.
It adds, "Simplification of COVID-19 vaccine composition and annual immunization schedules may contribute to more facile vaccine deployment, fewer vaccine administration errors, and less complex communication, all potentially leading to improved vaccine coverage rates and … enhanced public health."
Around the same time as Sumerian Records' tweet, the label apparently posted a TikTok video pointing to the same view, as a TikTok user captured. It showed a clip of actor Woody Harrelson's recent SNL monologue, which hinged on a COVID vaccine conspiracy theory, with additional text commentary added. It has seemingly since been deleted.