Pfizer Says Placebo Patients Will Eventually Get Its Covid-19 Vaccine. The Question of When Is Complicated

December 3, 2020

(STAT News) – Should patients who volunteer to be in Covid-19 vaccine studies, but who are assigned to get placebo, be offered the vaccine? As companies and regulators raced to start clinical trials in the summer, that question was left open. But for Pfizer and partner BioNTech, the answer now is not if but when. In a memo to researchers conducting the clinical trial, a copy of which was obtained by STAT, Pfizer said that it is working to find a way to eventually give the vaccine to volunteers who were assigned to receive placebo. But that would not occur until the Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency use authorization or another kind of regulatory approval.