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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is not stepping down

December 12, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has resigned from the company and admits that mRNA technology is not safe.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Bourla never said that the vaccine technology is unsafe nor that he is resigning. Pfizer confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that Bourla is still serving as the pharmaceutical company’s chairman and CEO.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing baseless claims suggesting that Bourla resigned from Pfizer and acknowledged that mRNA technology is unsafe.

“Pfizer CEO Albert Burla is stepping down,” one Twitter post states, misspelling the CEO’s name, “and now says the mRNA technology was not sufficiently proven when they launched … He says they convinced him, but he wasn’t sure. He admits it’s not safe.” The post had been retweeted more than 10,000 times as of Monday.

The post features a clip of a live video interview with Bourla from the Washington Post on March 10, 2022, where he discusses Pfizer’s decision to utilize mRNA technology for the COVID-19 vaccine.

He says Pfizer had “less experience” with mRNA when it set out to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, but not that it was unproven. And at no point during the interview does Bourla say that mRNA technology is harmful, nor that he is stepping down from the company, as the social media posts claim.

I was surprised when they suggested to me that this is the way to go, and I questioned it. And I asked them to justify how can you say something like that, but they came, and they were very, very convinced that this is the right way to go,” Bourla stated.

“They felt that the two years of work on mRNA since 2018 together with BioNTech to develop the flu vaccine made them believe that the technology is mature and we are at the cusp of delivering a product. So they convinced me. I followed my instinct that they know what they are saying. They are very good, and we made this very difficult decision at that time,” he continued.

Pfizer also confirmed in a statement to the AP that Bourla is not resigning.

“Albert Bourla continues to serve as the chairman and CEO of Pfizer. Any claims to the contrary are false. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be safe and effective for protection against severe disease and hospitalization,” the company wrote in an email.

As experts have previously told the AP in response to similar false claims, there’s plenty of evidence showing vaccines that utilize messenger RNA, or mRNA, are safe and effective. The mRNA in COVID-19 vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, helping protect the recipient from becoming seriously ill from the virus.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.