Pfizer CEO expresses frustration with vaccine politicization

Oct. 1, 2020

In an internal email obtained by various media outlets, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told employees that he was “disappointed” in how potential coronavirus vaccines were "discussed in political terms rather than scientific facts” during the first presidential debate.

In the letter, Bourla assured his staff that the company is “moving at the speed of science,” rather than following a political timeline.""But I do know that the world will be safer when we stop talking about the vaccines’ delivery in political terms and focus instead on a rigorous independent scientific evaluation and a robust independent approval process,” Bourla wrote.

The hypothetical vaccine approval timeline has become an election flashpoint. While championing his administration’s aggressive vaccine push, President Trump has repeatedly promised the American people a vaccine before Election Day — a timeline that has been refuted by top level health officials and the majority of drugmakers involved in Operation Warp Speed. Pfizer has been the exception, with Bourla saying the company could have “a conclusive readout” in late October and that if the results are positive, the company will immediately seek FDA approval.

Earlier this week, 60 bioethicists and researchers penned a letter asking Pfizer to delay data reporting until November, saying that pushing for an October EUA will erode public trust. 

Moderna’s CEO has recently said that the company will most likely not be ready to apply for an emergency use authorization with the FDA before the Nov. 3 election.