Facts Matter: Pfizer CEO didn't refuse vaccine

  • Albert Bourla

    Albert Bourla

  • Departing Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Dobbins, Ga., Vice President Kamala Harris boards Air Force Two. She did not salute her military escort -- but the vice president is not required to salute.

    Departing Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Dobbins, Ga., Vice President Kamala Harris boards Air Force Two. She did not salute her military escort -- but the vice president is not required to salute. AP File Photo/March 19, 2021

 
 
Updated 4/4/2021 1:19 PM

A recent social media post claimed the chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc., the pharmaceutical company that helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine, rejected the chance to be vaccinated himself.

"#Pfeizer CEO Refuses to get COVID Vaccine," reads the caption to a Facebook video, which misspelled Pfizer and was shared more than 3,100 times.

 

In the video, Pfizer chief Albert Bourla tells CNBC host Meg Tirrell, "I am 59 years old, in good health, I'm not working in the front line so (I am not) recommended to get vaccinated now."

"That report is categorically false," Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo told USA Today. "Dr. Bourla has been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine."

The Facebook user who posted the video on March 24 didn't disclose that the CNBC footage was taken on Dec. 14, 2020, according to USA Today. Bourla has since received two doses of the vaccine.

After receiving his second dose on March 10, Bourla tweeted, "There's nothing I want more than for my loved ones and people around the world to have the same opportunity."

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Biden overestimates support from Republicans

President Joe Biden, during his first news conference since taking office, said a majority of Republicans support his coronavirus stimulus package, even though no GOP senators voted for it.

"I would like elected Republican support, but what I know I have now is I have electoral support from Republican voters," the president said last week from the East Room of the White House. "Republican voters agree with what I'm doing. ... Over 50% of them must be over that edge, as well, cause they support what I did."

But that estimate is a little high, according to The Washington Post.

The numbers varied from five national polls, but Republican opposition to the $1.9 billion rescue bill was between 54% and 73%. In polls from CNN, Monmouth University, the Pew Research Center, CBS/YouGov and YouGov/Economist, a majority of Americans, from 61% to 75%, were in favor of the package.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There was, however, majority Republican support to parts of the stimulus plan, according to CNN.

In the CNN poll, which topped overall GOP opposition at 73%, the provision for up to $1,400 in stimulus checks and the part about billions in aid to get students to in-school learning each saw 55% Republican support. And 73% of Republicans surveyed agreed with larger tax credits for families.

Vice president not required to salute military

Social media users recently shared a video of Vice President Kamala Harris boarding Air Force Two in Georgia, claiming she disrespected U.S. military personnel.

"DISGRACEFUL:@VP Kamala Harris refuses to salute the honor guard at the steps of the aircraft. It is a clear demonstration of her dislike for those in uniform, both law-enforcement and military," tweeted former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. The post was shared on conservative social media and viewed more than 900,000 times.

But neither the president or vice president is required to salute troops and officials have said Harris is respectful to military members, according to The Associated Press.

Army regulation requires the president, as the commander-in-chief, to receive a salute but there is no requirement for military members to salute the vice president. And there is no regulation that states the president or vice president has to return a salute, Kirby said.

"She has no authority over them according to the Constitution," University of Kentucky presidential historian Richard Waterman told the AP. "Saluting the troops would be an act of courtesy."

Late night hosts have joked about Biden

Comedians hosting late night talk shows have regularly included jokes about the president. But a recent social media post claims President Joe Biden has never been the punchline.

A Facebook post shows an image from March 19 when Biden tripped while ascending the steps to board Air Force One. The meme included photos of Jimmy Fallon, Jimmie Kimmel and Stephen Colbert and the line, "Nope: Still not doing Biden jokes."

But the late night hosts didn't pass on the opportunity to poke fun at Biden's fall, according to PolitiFact.com.

During the March 22 monologue on the "Late Show," Colbert said, "Biden promised 100 million shots in 100 days. Well, last week he fulfilled that goal in 58 days. Our new president is on a roll, baby! Nothing can stop him now. Except stairs."

And on a March 23 episode of "The Tonight Show," Fallon quipped, "This next poll asks, 'What is the worst trip you've ever taken?' 50% said a family trip, 49% said a work retreat, and President Biden said, 'Walking up the stairs of Air Force One.'"

Kimmel's show was on hiatus when Biden tripped but the host has joked about the president since he took office, PolitiFact said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com

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