FACT CHECK: Did Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Refuse To Take His Company’s COVID-19 Vaccine?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla refused to take his company’s vaccine.

Verdict: False

Bourla did not immediately receive the Pfizer vaccine because he did want to cut in front of people who needed it more. He has since been vaccinated with it, according to a company spokesperson.

Fact Check:

Pfizer is one of three pharmaceutical companies that has developed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized (FDA) COVID-19 vaccine, according to the FDA’s website. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the FDA on Dec. 11, according to a Pfizer press release.

The Facebook post features a clip from a Dec. 14 interview Bourla did with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell in which he tells her he has yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine his company developed. “Pfizer CEO refuses his company’s vaccine… hello!” reads the post’s caption.

The caption, however, appears to be a misrepresentation of what Bourla said in the interview. At no point in the featured clip, or anywhere else in the interview, does Bourla state or suggest he is refusing to take the vaccine.

In the clip, Tirrell asks Bourla when he plans to receive the vaccine, to which Bourla responds, “As soon as I can, I will. The only sensitivity here, Meg, is that I don’t want to have an example that I’m cutting the line.”

He further states, “I’m 59 years old, in good health, I’m not working in the front lines so my type is not recommended to get vaccination now.” (RELATED: Did Pfizer Create A COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Vaporizer Cartridge’?)

While the video in the Facebook post ends after that statement, in the full interview, Bourla goes on to explain that polls show that if the CEO of a company takes the vaccine, more people will be willing to take it. “But we have made the decision that if we have to do that, we will not do it with our executives. So none of the executives and board members will cut the line,” Bourla explained.

This is in accordance with the distribution guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended the first limited doses of the vaccine go to health care workers and people over 75 years old.

Sharon Castillo, a Pfizer spokesperson, confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that the Facebook post’s claim is “categorically false” and that “Dr. Bourla has been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.”

Bourla also tweeted a picture of himself receiving the second dose of the vaccine on March 10.

“Excited to receive my 2nd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech #COVID19 vaccine,” reads the tweet. “There’s nothing I want more than for my loved ones and people around the world to have the same opportunity. Although the journey is far from over, we are working tirelessly to beat the virus.”

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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