Pfizer and BioNTech Speed Up Timeline for Offering Covid-19 Vaccine to Placebo Volunteers

January 4, 2021

(STAT News) – Pfizer and its partner BioNTech plan to offer their Covid-19 vaccine to any clinical trial volunteer who received placebo by March 1, several months earlier than initially planned. The decision represents the conclusion of a complex and public kabuki dance between the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer, and vaccine volunteers, as well as with Moderna, which developed its own Covid-19 vaccine. The FDA and its advisers pushed hard for volunteers to remain on placebo as long as possible to gather more safety and efficacy data about the vaccines, while the companies argued volunteers should receive the vaccines sooner for both ethical and practical reasons.