Pfizer, BioNTech to offer vaccine to volunteers who got placebo

Published January 3, 2021
This Dec 29, 2020, photo provided by Johns Hopkins Centre for American Indian Health, a registered nurse prepares a coronavirus vaccine in Chinle, Arizona, for someone who received a placebo.—AP
This Dec 29, 2020, photo provided by Johns Hopkins Centre for American Indian Health, a registered nurse prepares a coronavirus vaccine in Chinle, Arizona, for someone who received a placebo.—AP

Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech Se plan to give volunteers who received a placebo in its Covid-19 vaccine trial an option to receive a first dose of the vaccine by March 1, 2021, while staying within the study.

The trial’s Vaccine Transition Option allows all participants aged 16 or older the choice to discover whether they were given the placebo, “and for participants who learn they received the placebo, to have the option to receive the investigational vaccine while staying in the study,” the companies said on their website for trial participants.

The US Food and Drug Administration and a panel of its outside advisers have expressed concerns over Pfizer’s “unblinding” plan, saying it could make it harder to continue collecting data on safety and effectiveness needed to win full FDA approval of the vaccine.

Trial participants who received the placebo will have two doses of the investigational vaccine reserved for them within the study, the companies said on the website.

“The study doctor will follow the latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their local health authorities to offer the Vaccine Transition Option to participants in a prioritized manner,” the companies said.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2021

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