Pfizer CEO says people who spread COVID vaccine misinformation are 'criminals': 'Cost millions of lives'

Pfizer CEO says people who spread vaccine misinformation 'have literally cost millions of lives'

The CEO of Pfizer said people who intentionally spread misinformation about coronavirus vaccines are "criminals."

"Those people are criminals," Pfizer’s Albert Bourla told Atlantic Council think tank CEO Frederick Kempe on Tuesday. "They’re not bad people. They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives."

Bourla said it is a "very small" group of people who are purposefully spreading misinformation on vaccines, which he says misleads people who are already hesitant on getting the shots. 

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"The only thing that stands between the new way of life and the current way of life is, frankly, hesitancy to vaccinations," he said, adding that people can get "back to normal" if they get the vaccine.

US President Joe Biden (L) listens as Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla make a statements in St Ives, Cornwall on June 10, 2021, ahead of the three-day G7 summit being held from 11-13 June. - G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and t ( Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

A survey this week found that 78% of the public believes or is unsure of at least one false statement concerning vaccines. The Kaiser Family survey found some misleading information includes that vaccines cause infertility or contain microchips. 

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CDC data shows 194.2 million people are fully vaccinated in the United States. More than 25 million people have received the booster shot. 

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Los Angeles, CA - April 15: Liesl Eibschutz, a medical student from Dartmouth University, loads a syringe with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine before giving it to people on the first day that people ages 16 and up can receive the vaccine at Kedren Health on (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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The FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine late last month for emergency use for children ages 5-11, which has sparked a push for kids in schools to get the shot. Chicago public school, for example, canceled classes on Friday for "vaccine awareness day," to encourage eligible students to get the shots.