Pfizer: Mid-November earliest it can seek virus vaccine OK

Pfizer CEO says it can’t seek emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine before the third week of November — and that’s if everything goes well

NEW YORK — Pfizer Inc. cannot request emergency authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine before the third week of November — and that’s if everything goes well, the company’s CEO announced Friday.

Another leading U.S. contender, Moderna Inc., previously announced the earliest it could seek authorization of its own vaccine would be Nov. 25.

The vaccine also must be proven safe. And to qualify for an “emergency use authorization,” any COVID-19 vaccine must track at least half the participants in large-scale studies for two months after their second dose, the time period in which side effects are likely to appear.

Bourla estimated Pfizer’s 44,000-person study will reach that milestone in the third week of November.

“We are operating at the speed of science,” he wrote in a letter posted to the company’s website.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are among several leading candidates in final testing.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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