After rollout under emergency authorisation, manufacturers of covid-19 vaccines now have their sights on regulatory approval. But what’s the rush, asks Peter Doshi, and is just six months of data from now unblinded trials acceptable?
In April 2021, Pfizer and Moderna announced efficacy results at the six month mark from the phase III trials of their respective covid-19 vaccines.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company’s data “confirm the favourable efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine and position us to submit a Biologics License Application to the US FDA [Food and Drug Administration].”1 And on 7 May it formally initiated that application which, if successful, will earn the Pfizer-BioNTech product, BNT162b2, the distinction of becoming the first covid-19 vaccine approved by the FDA.
Because lest we forget, all covid-19 vaccines currently in use in the US are available under emergency access only.