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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 9, 2021

Old story about Pfizer CEO’s Israel trip spreads out of context — and he’s now fully vaccinated

If Your Time is short

  • In March, Pfizer’s CEO postponed a trip to Israel because he had only received the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. He received his second dose a few days after a news report concerning his canceled visit. 
  • Social media users are sharing this old news story as if it’s current news. It’s not.

Some social media users have recently been posting that the CEO of Pfizer couldn’t make a planned trip to Israel because he wasn’t fully vaccinated. The unspoken allegation: That the man in charge of a company that created one of the COVID-19 vaccines wants you to inoculate yourself against the disease but he won’t inject himself. 

"The CEO of Pfizer had to cancel a planned trip to Israel because he was not fully vaccinated," Newsmax writer Emerald Robinson tweeted on Aug. 5. "Let me repeat: BECAUSE HE WAS NOT VACCINATED."

Robinson tweeted a link to a Jerusalem Post article with a similar headline: "Pfizer CEO’s Israel visit canceled because he is not fully vaccinated"  

A screenshot of that headline is also now spreading online. 

"Wait… what," one Aug. 6 Instagram post said. "So he don’t even believe in his own product."

The headline is authentic. It’s also from March

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Several hours after tweeting about the article, Robinson posted an update: "The CEO of Pfizer announced on social media that he got his second vaccination shot on March 10," she said. 

Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, did tweet on that day that he was "excited" to receive his second dose of the vaccine. 

"There’s nothing I want more than for my loved ones and people around the world to have the same opportunity," he said, sharing a photo of himself receiving the vaccine. "Although the journey is far from over, we are working tirelessly to beat the virus." 

The Jerusalem Post story about Bourla canceling his trip was published online a few days earlier. The newspaper reported that "Bourla said in December that he has not yet received the vaccine yet because he does not want to ‘cut in line,’ and would wait until his age group is next in line for getting vaccinated. As such, he has received the first dose but not the second one yet." 

This is old news that is being recirculated in a way that’s misleading, suggesting that Bourla today has not received a COVID-19 vaccine that is now widely available in the United States. That’s wrong, and even when this Jerusalem Post story was written back in March, he had already had his first dose. 

We rate claims that Bourla recently canceled an Israel trip because he isn’t vaccinated Mostly False.

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Old story about Pfizer CEO’s Israel trip spreads out of context — and he’s now fully vaccinated

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