No COVID-19 vaccines were affected by the tornado that damaged Pfizer’s North Carolina warehouse, which doesn’t produce the vaccines. But some misinformation spreaders are claiming vaccines were destroyed.
Pfizer says it uses two facilities to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine that it developed with BioNTech.
One is in Puurs, Belgium, and the other is in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“[B]oth plants had the space, the know-how, the people, and the equipment to get to work right away,” the company explained on its website. “Their locations in the U.S. and Europe positioned them well for global distribution.”
For example, Graham Allen, a conservative commentator we’ve written about before, posted a video of the destruction on Instagram with text that said, “Gods work? A Pfizer Warehouse Full of Covid Vaccines Was Just DESTROYED BY A TORNADO in North Carolina.” After another fact checker wrote about his post, Allen edited the caption to acknowledge that “COVID-19 Vaccines Are NOT ‘Stocked’ At NC Pfizer Facility Damaged By A Tornado,” but the text on his video remained the same.
But there’s no evidence to support the claim that COVID-19 vaccines were present at that warehouse.
“We do not produce our COVID 19 vaccine or Paxlovid at the site,” a Pfizer spokesperson told us in an email, referring to the company’s oral antiviral drug made to treat COVID-19 in some adult patients. No COVID-19 vaccines or Paxlovid were impacted or damaged, the spokesperson said.
The facility in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, “is responsible for manufacturing nearly 25 percent of all Pfizer’s sterile injectables – including anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers – which is nearly 8 percent of all the sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals,” the company explained in a press release after the tornado. “The site is one of 10 Pfizer manufacturing sites located in the United States.”
The inclusion of “sterile injectables” may have led some to believe that vaccines were affected, but a list of “sterile injectables” for hospitals on Pfizer’s website includes only injectable medication, not vaccines.