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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke December 12, 2022

Bourla is still Pfizer’s CEO, and he didn’t call mRNA technology unsafe

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  • Albert Bourla remains Pfizer’s chief executive officer, the company said in a statement. We found no evidence that Bourla called mRNA technology unsafe. Rather, he recently touted the company’s efforts to tap that technology to create a flu-COVID-19 vaccine.

On Dec. 9, Pfizer Chief eExecutive Officer Albert Bourla tweeted about the company studying "a potential combined vaccine for influenza and COVID-19 based on #mRNA technology." 

But on another social media platform, claims are spreading that Bourla has resigned and called such technology unsafe.

"Pfizer CEO Albert Burla is stepping down and now says the mRNA technology was not sufficiently proven when they launched," a Dec. 12 Instagram post says, misspelling Bourla’s surname. "He says they convinced him, but he wasn’t sure. He admits it’s not safe." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Pfizer told PolitiFact in a statement that Bourla "continues to serve as the chairman and CEO of Pfizer" and that "any claims to the contrary are false." 

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"The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be safe and effective for protection against severe disease and hospitalization," the statement said. 


Bourla is still listed on Pfizer’s website as the company’s chief executive officer and chairman. His LinkedIn account and Twitter biography reflect the same titles. He tweeted most recently on Dec. 11, sharing an essay by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the departing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

"Like so many, you have inspired my own scientific career," Bourla said, "and as I help shape future scientists at @Pfizer, I know I will continue to draw from lessons you have shared." 

Bourla’s exit from Pfizer would be news covered by multiple organizations, just as it was when his successor, Ian Read, left the company in 2019. Reuters and The Wall Street Journal were among the news outlets to report on Read’s retirement, and Pfizer issued a press release announcing it. There are no such articles to corroborate the claim that Bourla resigned and undermined his company’s products in the process.

The mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines predates the pandemic, but misinformation about their safety continues to spread. There is ample evidence that such vaccines are safe and effective, and we found no evidence that Bourla suggested otherwise.    

We rate this post False.


Our Sources

Instagram post, Dec. 12, 2022

Pfizer, Ian Read to Retire as Executive Chairman of Pfizer’s Board of Directors; Chief Executive Officer Dr. Albert Bourla Named Chairman, Sept. 27, 2019

Albert Bourla tweet, Dec. 11, 2022

Albert Bourla tweet, Dec. 9, 2022

Albert Bourla LinkedIn, visited Dec. 12, 2022

Pfizer, Executive Leadership, visited Dec. 12, 2022

Johns Hopkins University, Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?, updated Jan. 4, 2022

The Associated Press, Baseless claims about safety of mRNA vaccines circulate online, Sept. 20, 2022

Statement from Pfizer, Dec. 12, 2022


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Bourla is still Pfizer’s CEO, and he didn’t call mRNA technology unsafe

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