Those who actively spread false information about the COVID-19 vaccine are “criminals,” according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.
The CEO spoke with the Atlantic Council, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, about what he called a “very small” group of people who are misleading those considering getting their vaccines.
“Those people are criminals,” he said, per CNBC. “They’re not bad people. They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives.”
Bourla’s assessment arrives just days after a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll found that 8 in 10 Americans either are unsure of or believe misinformation about the vaccines, with the poll finding that republicans are most likely to hold such beliefs.
“The only thing that stands between the new way of life and the current way of life is, frankly, hesitancy to vaccinations,” Bourla added.
According to the new poll, 38 percent of people believe the government is exaggerating COVID deaths, 18 percent believe it is hiding COVID deaths, and 17 percent think pregnant people should not get vaccinated.
“The findings highlight a major challenge for efforts to accurately communicate the rapidly evolving science about the pandemic when false and ambiguous information can spread quickly, whether inadvertently or deliberately, through social media, polarized news sources and other outlets,” a KFF release says.
Bourla’s comments also come after children’s TV characters—such as Big Bird—have announced they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 in an effort to get kids vaccinated, despite the efforts of conservatives like Ted Cruz to block the efforts.
President Joe Biden approved the Sesame Street mainstay’s decision, writing, “Good on ya, @BigBird. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep your whole neighborhood safe.”