November 17, 2021

As one of the companies behind an authorized COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer has become a frequent subject of online misinformation, with some blogs and social media users specifically targeting company leadership.

“Wife of Pfizer’s CEO dies after complications from the vaccine,” reads a Nov. 10 headline on a blog from the website Conservative Beaver that was shared in a Facebook post.

“Myriam Bourla — the wife of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla — has died from complications from the COVID-19 vaccine early Wednesday, according to her doctor,” the article says. “She passed away in the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital after being brought in by paramedics. The cause of death has been listed as complications from the Pfizer vaccine.”

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The report is false.

“Our CEO’s wife is alive and well contrary to what was said on the Internet,” a Pfizer spokesperson said.

A search for news clips turned up no evidence to support the claim that Bourla’s wife died. The Conservative Beaver article’s claim has been debunked by other fact-checking organizations.

Conservative Beaver describes itself as a conservative Canadian news site, but the site frequently publishes misinformation. Claims on the site have been debunked by PolitiFact and other fact-checking organizations.

“It is unconscionable that a person posing as a journalist would spread such outrageous lies about our CEO and his family with the goal of undermining confidence in a vaccine that has been given to hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” the Pfizer spokesperson said of the Conservative Beaver report.

In addition to causing the Bourla family “emotional distress,” the spokesperson said, the claims also damage “innocent people around the world who put their lives at risk by believing such rubbish.”

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Madison Czopek is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. She was a reporter for PolitiFact Missouri and a former public life reporter for the Columbia Missourian.…
Madison Czopek

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