Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, had to cancel plans to visit Israel in March because he had not yet received his second dose of vaccine.
Albert Bourla had intended to visit Israel in early March 2021, but had to cancel it at short notice after he and some of his staff were found not to have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It was not clear whether this decision followed pressure from Israeli officials (Daily Mail). This story has resurfaced in recent days following Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson’s tweet of August 5, where she claimed that Pfizer’s CEO had not yet taken the full dose of his company’s own vaccine. However, the tweet was deemed false by fact-checkers across the country for failing to acknowledge that the story in question was by this time months old (Reuters).
Bourla had been intending to travel to meet scientific leaders and stakeholders who would have been “vital to the successful COVID-19 vaccination program in Israel” (Business Insider). However, there was also speculation that the timing of the visit would have coincided with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming election. Pfizer did not immediately respond to inquiries as to the nature or timing of the visit (AP News).
Bourla had previously announced in December that, due to his age of 59, he would wait until frontline workers and seniors had had their vaccines before stepping forward himself. He received his second shot of vaccine on March 10 of this year (AP News). Pfizer’s vaccine program has been under fire in recent days after it emerged that its effectiveness in fighting coronavirus drops to 84% after just six months, according to Bourla.
Furthermore, it appears that the decline in effectiveness is steady, suggesting that people may need ‘booster’ shots against the virus in the future (CNBC). This, combined with the re-emergence of the story surrounding Bourla’s canceled Israel trip, has further fueled the anti-vaccine sentiment amongst those opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine. Other posts on Twitter linking to the article about the Israel trip read “Never trust a chef who won’t eat his own food” (Reuters).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that almost 194 million people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including almost 166 million people who have received either the the Johnson & Johnson single dose or the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. At a press conference on Friday, Joe Biden claimed that 350 million Americans had been vaccinated — 20 million more than the entire US population. It is possible he could have been confusing the total number of jabs given out so far (The Independent).
ARTICLE: RUAIRIDH KEE
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES OF ISRAEL
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