Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 15, 2023

Old photo of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wearing a mask is mischaracterized as new

If Your Time is short

  • This photo was taken in November 2020, not 2023.

A recent Instagram post takes a potshot at Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for supposedly donning a face mask days earlier to protect himself against COVID-19.  

"Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wearing a mask in November 2023,"says the Nov. 15 post, which is overlaid with a clown emoji. Bourla appears in the photo with four other people wearing face masks that read, "SCIENCE WILL WIN."  

This post was 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.)

Bourla posted the photo Nov. 9 on X, but he makes clear in the post that the photo isn’t new. 

Featured Fact-check

"Three years ago today, we were able to share with the world the joyous news that our #COVID19 vaccine was highly effective in preventing disease," Bourla said in the post. "It was one of the best moments of my career. We could not have reached this point without the extraordinary efforts of our talented and dedicated @Pfizer colleagues and @BioNTech_Group partners. This photo was taken moments after we received the good news from our R&D (research & development) team, and you can see the smiles through our masks."

On Nov. 9, 2020, Pfizer announced that its vaccine "was found to be more than 90% effective, according to clinical results released by the company" that day, NPR reported

We rate claims this photo was taken in November 2023 False.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Old photo of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wearing a mask is mischaracterized as new

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up