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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann July 24, 2023

Pfizer facility destroyed by tornado didn’t manufacture COVID-19 vaccines

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  • On July 19, a tornado damaged a Pfizer facility in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The pharmaceutical company said this facility did not manufacture or store COVID-19 vaccines.

After a tornado struck a Pfizer facility in North Carolina on July 19, some social media users claimed the company’s vaccine supply had been demolished.

Multiple Instagram posts shared July 19 claimed the Pfizer warehouse destroyed by a tornado was "full of Covid vaccines."

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

The tornado swept across 16.5 miles of central North Carolina, damaging several structures, including the Pfizer facility in Rocky Mount, about 60 miles northeast of Raleigh. 

More than a dozen people were injured. Pfizer confirmed all 3,200 workers at this facility were able to evacuate.

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Amy Rose, a Pfizer spokesperson, told PolitiFact that COVID-19 vaccines and Paxlovid, a medicine that treats coronavirus infections, are not produced at the Rocky Mount facility.

In a press release, Pfizer said this facility has been a key producer of sterile injectables since 1968, and it is currently responsible for manufacturing 25% of the company’s sterile injectables, including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers.

The site is closed while the pharmaceutical company assesses the tornado damage.

An initial assessment found that the warehouse facility sustained most of the damage. Pfizer said it stores raw materials, packaging supplies and finished medicines awaiting release. There does not appear to be any major damage to the medicine production areas.

We rate the claim that the North Carolina Pfizer facility damaged by a tornado was "full of Covid vaccines" False.

RELATED: Claim tornado planned for Pfizer insurance money unfounded

Our Sources

Instagram post (archived version), July 19, 2023

Instagram post, July 19, 2023

Instagram post (archived version), July 19, 2023

Email exchange with Amy Rose, Pfizer spokesperson, July 24, 2023

National Weather Service Raleigh, tweet, July 20, 2023

Pfizer, tweet, July 19, 2023

Pfizer, "Pfizer Announces Post-Tornado Relief Plans for Rocky Mount Community and Manufacturing Facility," July 21, 2023

PolitiFact, "Claim tornado planned for Pfizer insurance money unfounded," July 20, 2023

USA Today, "Pfizer facility damaged in storm makes sterile injectables, not COVID-19 vaccine," July 21, 2023

Lead Stories, "Fact Check: COVID-19 Vaccines Are NOT 'Stocked' At NC Pfizer Facility Damaged By A Tornado," July 20, 2023

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Pfizer facility destroyed by tornado didn’t manufacture COVID-19 vaccines

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