The CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla had to cancel a trip to Israel in March, because he wasn’t fully vaccinated. The eyebrow-raising news was reported by the Jerusalem Post.
“Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has canceled his expected visit to Israel after it turned out he has not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus,” the Jerusalem Post reported, citing news channel N12.
“According to the channel, Bourla, as well as members of the delegation that was meant to accompany him during his visit, have not received the second dose of the vaccine,” the report continued.
“As a result, it was decided to delay the visit by several days, which also posed a logistic challenge because of the upcoming Israeli elections,” the report added. But it turns out that he never went.
Bourla’s excuse for not getting the vaccine right away is that he did not want to “cut in line,” as he said in a CNBC interview in December. He claims that he had only received one shot of the vaccine by mid-March. But despite being invited to attend an Independence Day celebration in Israel in mid-April, the CEO said that he was unable to come.
“At Israel’s main Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla delivered a recorded video message broadcast on national TV,” the AP reported.
“Together we are demonstrating that through mass vaccination we can defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives,” he said in the video-recorded broadcast.
“Bourla, a son of Jewish Holocaust survivors from Greece, had reportedly been invited to attend in person as a representative of Diaspora Jewry but was unable to come,” the AP added.
The Pfizer CEO nonetheless had shown himself in a March post getting the reported second shot of the vaccine.
Excited to receive my 2nd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech #COVID19 vaccine. There's nothing I want more than for my loved ones and people around the world to have the same opportunity. Although the journey is far from over, we are working tirelessly to beat the virus. pic.twitter.com/ES05WPBLJA
— AlbertBourla (@AlbertBourla) March 10, 2021
“Excited to receive my 2nd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech #COVID19 vaccine,” he wrote. “There’s nothing I want more than for my loved ones and people around the world to have the same opportunity. Although the journey is far from over, we are working tirelessly to beat the virus.”
A Pfizer spokesperson sought to dispel rumors he wasn’t fully vaccinated, as was reported by the USA Today.
“That report is categorically false,” Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo told USA TODAY via email. “Dr. Bourla has been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.”
Bourla told Axios on HBO that he felt “liberated” after receiving the doses of the vaccine. But he might want to slow down on his feelings of liberations, after the CDC reported that the fully vaccinated can spread the Delta variant of COVID.
While the Food and Drug Administration is expected to give Pfizer vaccines its seal of approval early next month, there are new side effects being reported.
“The research was conducted at Rambam Health Care Campus, Galilee Medical Center, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Kaplan Medical Center and Sourasky,” the report continued. “It was accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed ophthalmology journal Retina.”
“Habot-Wilner, head of the Uveitis Service at the hospital, found that 21 people (23 eyes) who had received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine developed uveitis within one to 14 days after receiving their first shot or within one day to one month after the second,” the Post continued, adding, “Twenty-one people developed anterior uveitis, and two developed Multiple Evanescent White Dot Syndrome (MEWDS).”
The report comes amidst the threat of new lockdowns in Israel due to a surge in the Delta variant, a less-deadly strain that is nonetheless fueling a new wave of infections. Israel’s vaccination rate stands at about 60% fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday urged Israelis to get vaccinated or potentially lose out on the public celebration of Jewish holidays.
“The future of the Jewish holidays depends on vaccination numbers,” Bennett stressed.
“I ask each of you to go and get vaccinated, you are endangering yourself and the people around you, as if you were walking with a machine gun and shooting Delta viruses at all of us,” the prime minister said. “This is a selfish, unworthy and irresponsible. None of you want to kill people by mistake, we are waiting for you at the vaccination stations.”
“If we do impose a lockdown, the purpose will be to buy us more time to vaccinate more people,” Bennett also said. Another ’15 days to slow the spread,’ prime minister?
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.