Pfizer’s CEO says that Donald Trump told him before last year’s election that a Covid-19 vaccine would be good for his victory chances.
Albert Bourla said that the ex-president would call him in 2020 and urge him to get the vaccine developed quickly.
But Mr Bourla said that the one-time president “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’,” Mr Bourla said on The Carlos Watson Show in an interview set to air on Friday.
Pfizer became the first Covid vaccine given Emergency Use Authorisation in the US in December, followed by Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.
Mr Bourla added that while he wanted to get the vaccine into arms as soon as he could, he told then-president Mr Trump and Joe Biden’s election campaign that Pfizer 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,” said Mr Bourla.
The CEO also told Watson that it was a “likely scenario” that the world would face another pandemic similar to Covid-19.
“Clearly pandemics and epidemics will be happening,” said Mr Bourla.
“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.”
Around 30.8 million people have become infected with the virus during the pandemic and more than 555,000 people have died.