Pfizer CEO urges patience on reopening economies

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A general view of Pfizer Manufacturing in Puurs, Belgium, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. British officials authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Wednesday, greenlighting the world’s first shot against the virus that’s backed by rigorous science and taking a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

ATHENS, Greece — Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla urged global governments not to reopen economies too quickly because of the optimism created by possible COVID-19 vaccines.

“Given the pressure to open the economy, (governments) should not make this mistake…and relax immediately,” said Bourla, speaking at an online event hosted in his native Greece.

“The vaccine is one tool in controlling this disease…The time that we will have to go back to normality is not far away. But it is definitely not now.”

Bourla spoke Wednesday after Britain became the first country to approve a vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech.

The 59-year-old executive says early stages of national vaccination programs were likely to have a significant impact because they would be directed at vulnerable groups like seniors and health care workers.

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