May 19, 2022

With new COVID-19 variants being discovered by scientists, many on social media are beginning to wonder if the current protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccine is enough or if new guidance from health officials is on the horizon.

For example, this tweet from RapTV claims that the CEO of Pfizer said that a fourth dose of their COVID-19 vaccine would be “necessary.” That’s it. The tweet offered no sources or any additional information, like when this would start or who this would apply to.

Did Pfizer’s CEO really advise people to get double boosted? Here’s how we fact-checked it.

Who’s behind the claim?

When it comes to health information, you always want to take a closer look at who is behind the information. Knowing where information is coming from can alert you to any bias, or let you know if they are an expert in what they’re posting about. 

This tweet was posted by RapTV, a verified account that primarily focuses on entertainment news and music updates — not an expert source when it comes to COVID-19 safety precautions, pandemic updates or health news in general.

And a quick note about that blue checkmark: It means that Twitter recognizes that account as authentic. It’s a good thing to look out for, since there are several parody accounts on Twitter with profile pictures and handles that look exactly like RapTV’s at a quick glance.

Track down the original source

A keyword search of “pfizer ceo fourth dose” brought up tons of reporting from more recognizable sources.

According to this article from CBS News, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during an interview on “Face the Nation” that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would be “necessary” based on early and preliminary data. According to their reporting, while the current Pfizer vaccine still protects against severe disease, the second booster “is needed to ward off infections.” 

Check multiple sources

Searching for more information makes it clear that experts still haven’t come to a consensus on how necessary a fourth dose is.

ABC News, for example, interviewed professors from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in March 2022, who both said at that time that it was either too early to recommend a fourth dose, or that very few people — excluding people who are immunocompromised — would require one.

And while people 50 and older are now eligible to get their second COVID-19 booster shot, USA Today reported that science doesn’t offer much guidance here, so the decision to get double boosted at this point has to be a personal one.

Things can certainly change as scientists and experts learn more. You should always consult your own doctor and lean on trusted primary sources, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Legit. While the tweet could have included more information or links to the guidance from scientists or health officials, Pfizer’s CEO did say that a fourth vaccine would be “necessary.” So we’ll rate this claim as legit.

RELATED: Be vigilant about COVID vaccine claims 

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

More News

Back to News