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Pfizer Plans To Offer COVID-19 Vaccine To Placebo Group Trial Volunteers: Report

Pfizer Plans To Offer COVID-19 Vaccine To Placebo Group Trial Volunteers: Report

Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) plan to allow the participants in the COVID-19 vaccine trials to learn if they were part of the placebo group and offer them free shots, Bloomberg reports.

What Happened: Pfizer, in an emailed statement to Bloomberg, said that both companies are providing voluntary options to COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial volunteers, who were part of the placebo group, to receive the vaccine at scheduled time points.

The option is still pending regulatory approvals and may not materialize. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration didn't comment on the company's move when approached by Bloomberg.

Why It Matters: The debate whether all trial volunteers should be administered the vaccine has been controversial over the last few months. 

Regulators and ethicists have had mixed opinions. On the one hand, it is essential to protect everyone against COVID-19, while on the other, placebo groups are essential for comparisons and identifying the long-term effect of the vaccine. 

Allowing placebo group participants to take the vaccine straightaway might complicate things for other vaccine developers such as Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), which could receive emergency use authorization for ITS experimental COVID-19 vaccine this week, Bloomberg notes.

A go-ahead by regulators would mean that 18,785 members of Pfizer's placebo could be vaccinated at a time when Pfizer's vaccine is in short supply.

Price Action: On Friday, PFE shares closed 1.46% lower at $41.12, and BNTX shares closed 1.73% lower at $127.30


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Posted-In: Bloomberg COVID-19 VaccineBiotech News FDA Media General Best of Benzinga

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