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Pfizer CEO’s wife did not die or experience ‘vaccine complications’

November 16, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Myriam Bourla, the wife of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, has died from complications of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A spokesperson for Pfizer told The Associated Press that Myriam Bourla is “alive and well.” The official called the incorrect claims “lies” meant to undermine public confidence in the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.

THE FACTS: A conservative blog known for publishing inaccurate articles, including ones about the CEO of Pfizer, posted a story Nov. 10 claiming that Albert Bourla’s wife had died and her cause of death was listed as “complications from the Pfizer vaccine.”

There is no truth to these assertions.

Pfizer spokesperson Amy Rose accused the author of the article of “deliberately and maliciously attempting to cause emotional distress to the Bourla family.”

“Our CEO’s wife is alive and well, contrary to what was said on the Internet,” Rose wrote in an email to the AP. “It is unconscionable that a person posing as a journalist would spread such lies about our CEO and his family with the goal of undermining confidence in a vaccine that has been given to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.”

The blog, The Conservative Beaver, did not provide any evidence for its claims and attributed some information to an unnamed doctor. The article has been widely shared on social media among people who appear to believe it is true.

The article erroneously stated that Myriam Bourla died Nov. 10 in a hospital outside of New York City after being brought to the emergency room by paramedics. The blog also incorrectly stated that she had “expressed skepticism with her husband’s experimental injection” and initially refused to take it.

That claim is also false. The article took a months-old quote from Myriam Bourla out of context to support the inaccurate statement.

In a Feb. 4 interview with the local news outlet Scarsdale 10583, Bourla, then 48, said she was “very proud” of her husband’s work in developing the vaccine, but that she had not received it yet because it was not her turn.

Her stance was in accordance with vaccination guidance at the time, which prioritized essential workers, older adults and those at highest risk of experiencing severe complications from the virus.

Bourla did not express skepticism about the vaccine in the interview, either. She stated: “I’m also very happy for the humanity and the hope that the vaccine brought to the world.”

The Conservative Beaver, which says it is based in Canada, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a separate blog post this month, the same site also falsely alleged that Albert Bourla had been arrested by the FBI and charged with fraud. Pfizer refuted the claim, and the FBI said it had no knowledge of such a case.

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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.