Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, a Thessaloniki native, told interviewers on Sunday that he had recently gotten his first of two doses of the company’s own coronavirus vaccine, the first inoculation available worldwide.
Bourla told CNBC in December that he had learned from his own research that one of the most effective means to increase confidence in the vaccine in skeptics was to have the CEO of the company receive it.
Waited his turn in line
However, he was not about to jump over others who were older and more at risk in order to prove the point. Instead, he waited his turn — like everyone else in America — to receive the shot when his age group became eligible.
Bourla recently announced that his brother in law, who lives in Thessaloniki, had received his first coronavirus shot as well, after waiting along with all other Greek citizens for his turn to come.
Bourla feels “liberated” after receiving vaccine
After Bourla received his shot, he told interviewers from “Axios on HBO” that he felt “liberated.”
Bourla said that he would tell his family members to receive the first vaccine offered to them — even those that may not be as effective against the symptomatic disease as the Pfizer inoculation.
“This is a pandemic. The vaccines that are approved by the FDA are all vaccines that are meeting the threshold,” he said.
“If it was the case, can I get a vaccine now — any vaccine now — or a vaccine that I prefer two months later, I would go with whatever I can get now.”
Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines, which use mRNA, are approximately 95% effective against any symptomatic forms of the virus.
Johnson & Johnson’s new inoculation has proven to be equally as good as the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots at preventing hospitalization and death although it was marginally less effective at preventing the more minor symptoms of the disease.
“Must have equitable distribution for all”
That news was especially heartening since the J & J vaccine candidate was tested at a time when the new strains of the virus were present and in areas, such as South Africa, where they predominate.
Asked if it was fair to give Americans a third shot before many in the world have even received their first inoculation, Bourla answered, “There are are a lot of ethical considerations with that. What we as a healthcare company must do is to have equitable distribution to all.
“And the best way to do that is not by choosing who will get it. It is by increasing production so that everyone can get it.”
Expects to more than double coronavirus vaccine production
The meeting took place in Michigan, the pharmaceutical company’s largest manufacturing facility in the United States, Reuters reports.
Bourla announced during the visit that he expects to more than double the approximately 5 million vaccine doses per week the company currently provides to the U.S. government.
The US government is currently paying Pfizer about $20 per dose right now, and the inoculations are given for free to the public.
Asked on Sunday if that would be sustainable in the long term, Bourla replied “We’ll see if it goes to the open market; maybe the price will get much closer to the price of vaccines that exist for the flu or for other diseases, which use these high-end technologies.
“If the price of the vaccine becomes an obstacle, that would be terrible for society,” he admitted. “We should never have a situation like that, particularly for a vaccine.” he declared.