Pfizer CEO says Trump told him vaccine ‘will help me’ with election
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says in an interview set to run Friday that former President Trump told him before last year’s election that a coronavirus vaccine could help his chances.
On clips from “The Carlos Watson Show” provided in advance exclusively to The Hill, Bourla says that Trump would call to encourage him to get the vaccine out quickly, but emphasized that “he never pressed me to do something that would be inappropriate with a vaccine.”
“In the few times that he was telling me that we need to do it fast — first he would say, ‘We need to do it quickly; people are dying,’ and then also he would add, ‘Of course it will help me also in the election, but people is the important thing.’”
The head of Pfizer, whose vaccine against COVID-19 became the first approved for use in the U.S. in December, acknowledged that he too wanted to get the vaccine out as soon as possible, but said that he made it clear to both Trump and now-President Biden’s campaign that the development would “move with the speed of science.”
“The important thing for me was the pressure of the billions of people that suddenly had invested their entire hopes on us, and we had to deliver,” Bourla said.
Bourla added that he is not entirely happy with how the vaccine rollout was conducted, though he said the problems were because the process was “very complicated.”
Watson, co-founder and CEO of OZY, asked Bourla if he believed another pandemic like COVID-19 could occur in the near future, citing co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates and leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, who have said as much. Bourla said it is a “likely scenario” that the world will see another pandemic similar to COVID-19.
“Clearly pandemics and epidemics will be happening. The next pandemic or epidemic should find the world much better prepared, from my perspective. For example, in Pfizer we are seeing this also as a case study so how can we prepare,” Bourla said.