7 things to know about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine timeline

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, PhD, laid out a timeline Oct. 16 for reaching key milestones in the drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine development. 

“To ensure public trust and clear up a great deal of confusion, I believe it is essential for the public to understand our estimated timelines,” Dr. Bourla said in an open letter. 

Seven things to know about Pfizer’s vaccine development: 

  1. Pfizer should start seeing data from large studies indicating whether the vaccine works by the end of October.
  2. Pfizer should have data on the vaccine’s safety by the third week of November.
  3. If the data shows the vaccine can work safely, Pfizer could seek approval from the FDA by the end of November.
  4. Earlier this month, Pfizer’s vaccine trial became the first in the U.S. to enroll children as young as 12.
  5. Dr. Bourla has pledged that Pfizer wouldn’t be pressured politically to speed up its COVID-19 vaccine development. Last month, Pfizer released its trial protocol to address concerns about a push by President Donald Trump for a vaccine before Election Day.
  6. The updated timeline is in line with previous estimations by Dr. Bourla on when the vaccine would be approved. Last month, he said there’s a “good chance” Pfizer will know if a vaccine works by the end of October. In July, he estimated the vaccine could be approved as early as December.
  7. Pfizer began its final-stage trial in July and in the same month signed a $1.95 billion deal with HHS and the U.S. Defense Department to secure up to 600 million doses of the vaccine. 

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