No vaccine bid until after vote, Pfizer says
Pfizer Inc. cannot request emergency authorization of its COVID19 vaccine before the third week of November — and that’s if everything goes well, CEO Albert Bourla said Friday.
Despite President Trump’s repeated promises of a vaccine before election day, scientists have been cautioning that it’s unlikely data showing a leading shot actually works would come until November or December.
Another leading U.S. contender, Moderna Inc., previously announced the earliest it could seek authorization of its own vaccine would be Nov. 25.
To qualify for an “emergency use authorization,” any COVID19 vaccine must track at least half the participants in largescale studies for two months after their second dose, the time period in which side effects are likely to appear. Bourla estimated Pfizer’s 44,000person study will reach that milestone in midnovember.
“We are operating at the speed of science,” he wrote in a letter posted to the company’s website.
The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner Biontech are among several leading candidates in final testing.
Even if a vaccine emerges by year’s end, only limited doses will be available right away. The U.S. government is deciding who would be first in line, almost certainly health care workers, and estimates there may be enough for widespread vaccinations in the spring.
Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer, appears at a Senate hearing last year.