By Matthew Roscoe • 28 January 2022 • 8:01
FDA says it needs more time to release COVID-19 vaccine data to the public as Pfizer weighs in.
THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it needs more time to release COVID-19 vaccine data to the public and has asked the Court to make the public wait a few more months for it to start producing 55,000 pages per month – as Pfizer weighs in on the lawsuit.
In December 2021, the FDA revealed that they proposed to release the data at a rate of 500-pages-per-month – which would have meant it needed 75 years to fully release the Covid vaccine data to the public – a timeline would have taken until at least 2096.
However, a federal judge rejected this request earlier this month and instead ordered its release at a rate of 55,000 pages per month. Meaning all information would be released within about eight months, with the FDA ordered to start producing that rate on March 1.
But now the FDA has asked the Court to make the public wait until May for it to start producing the ordered amount and, even then, claims it may not be able to meet this rate due to staffing issues.
In fact, the FDA affirmed it had already “allocated the equivalent of nearly 11 full-time staff to this project” and that “a review speed of 50 documents per hour was within the normal range for document review in a complex matter.”
This whole situation has been brought about by the Public Health and Medical Professionals, demanding more transparency, who had sued the FDA under a Freedom of Information due to the FDA’s initial request of only releasing a “minimum” of 500 pages a month. The FDA again cited staffing issues as the reason for the proposed release plan.
The group, however, said there are more than 400,000 pages of data needed and US District Judge Mark Pittman agreed, stating that although “the ‘unduly burdensome’ challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA,” the “request is of paramount public importance”.
Now, joining the court proceedings as the process for basic transparency continues, are Pfizer, whose COVID-19 vaccine data is being requested due to the FDA decision to grant Pfizer-BioNTech “Emergency Use Authorisation” for its mRNA vaccine in December 2020.
Coming in as a third party, Pfizer assured the Court that they were interjecting to help expedite production of the documents, according to Aaron Siri, a lawyer working on the case.
Siri noted that “Pfizer’s legal bill will likely be multiple times what it would cost the FDA to simply hire a private document review company to review, redact, and produce the documents at issue. Within weeks, if not days.”
He also called the whole situation a “circus”, noting that “the government mandated Pfizer’s product and then gave it immunity for any safety or efficacy issues, promoted its product using taxpayer money, gave Pfizer over $17 billion (€15.3 billion) and then used taxpayers’ money to fight to avoid providing even the most basic level of transparency to the public.”
The case continues.
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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