Pfizer CEO didn’t say he doesn’t need to be vaccinated because he’s healthy

25 August 2021
What was claimed

The CEO of Pfizer said he doesn’t need to get vaccinated for Covid-19 because he’s healthy.

Our verdict

False. This is a misquote from an interview in December where the head of Pfizer said he didn’t want to get the vaccine ahead of more vulnerable recipients. At the time, rollout had just begun. He has since had both doses of the vaccine.

A Facebook post says the CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, doesn’t think he needs to be vaccinated because “he’s healthy”.

This isn’t true.

In December, Mr Bourla gave an interview on CNBC where he said he didn’t want to receive his company’s vaccine ahead of others who needed it more. 

When asked when he would be vaccinated, he replied: “(The) sooner I can I will. The only sensitivity here [...] is that I don’t want to have an example that I am cutting the line.

“I am 59-years-old, I am in good health, I’m not working in the frontline so my type is not recommended to get vaccination now [sic].”

The vaccine rollout in the US (where Mr Bourla lives) began on 14 December, the same day as the interview and only days after the Pfizer vaccine was authorised for use by the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As in the UK, healthcare workers and the most elderly and vulnerable were among the first recommended for vaccination in the US.  

Mr Bourla also said in the interview that polling suggested one of the most persuasive actions to encourage people to take a vaccine was if the head of a company manufacturing them took it.  

He added: “With that in mind, I’m trying to find a way that I will get vaccinated, despite even if it is not my time, just to demonstrate the confidence strength of the company [sic].”

Since the interview Mr Bourla has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, tweeting a photo of him receiving his second dose on 10 March.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because it’s a misquote from an interview in December when vaccine rollout had just begun.

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