Covid-19 Vaccine's Development Won't Be Affected by Politics, Pfizer CEO Says -- Update
By Jared S. Hopkins
Pfizer Inc.'s chief executive sought to assure the drugmaker's
employees Thursday that their experimental Covid-19 vaccine
wouldn't be influenced by politics, two days after President Trump
mentioned the company during the debate.
Chief Executive Albert Bourla sent a letter to all employees
saying Pfizer "would never succumb to political pressure" as it
develops a Covid-19 vaccine.
"The only pressure we feel -- and it weighs heavy -- are the
billions of people, millions of businesses and hundreds of
government officials that are depending on us," he wrote in the
letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
President Trump said in the presidential debate Tuesday that he
had spoken to Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, and a vaccine was
weeks away. Mr. Trump also said he disagreed with federal health
officials who had said a vaccine wouldn't be widely available until
The president's comments at the debate, as well as remarks
beforehand saying he sought a vaccine's authorization before
Election Day, have touched off partisan fighting over whether his
administration would push for a vaccine's use before it has been
They come as surveys show significant numbers of Americans
harbor concerns about taking a vaccine, partly out of fear a shot
might be unsafe.
Dr. Bourla wrote that he was disappointed that Covid-19 vaccines
were discussed during the presidential debate "in political terms
rather than scientific facts." He added, "People, who are
understandably confused, don't know whom or what to believe."
Pfizer is recruiting 44,000 people in more than 100 countries to
test its vaccine in a late-stage study. Dr. Bourla has said in
public appearances that the company could know results about
whether it works as early as this month.
A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company and partner BioNTech SE
expect "a conclusive readout on efficacy is likely by the end of
Mr. Bourla said in the letter that he can't predict exactly
when, or if, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would authorize
the company's vaccine.
"But I do know that the world will be safer if 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," he wrote.
Write to Jared S. Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 01, 2020 16:10 ET (20:10 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Historical Stock Chart
From Nov 2020 to Dec 2020
Historical Stock Chart
From Dec 2019 to Dec 2020