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Texas judge orders the FDA to release the Pfizer vaccine data "early"

by on10 January 2022

We can’t wait 75 years because of lack of bandwidth

A federal judge in Texas ordered the Food and Drug Administration to publicise the data it relied on to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine,

imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months.

The FDA insisted that it had nothing to hide, but it would take more than 75 years to redact 450,000 pages of material about the vaccine. It means that the reasons would never be known in the lifetime of many people who took the vaccine or affect the careers of those in the FDA who allowed it through.

The Freedom of Information Act was requested by a group of doctors and scientists seeking an estimate. The court “concludes that this FOIA request is of paramount public importance,” wrote US District Judge Mark Pittman in Fort Worth.

The FDA didn’t dispute it had an obligation to make the information public but argued that its short-staffed FOIA office only had the bandwidth to review and release 500 pages a month.

While Pittman recognised “the ‘unduly burdensome’ challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA,” in his four-page order, he resoundingly rejected the agency’s suggested schedule. Instead, rather than producing 500 pages a month -- the FDA’s proposed timeline -- he ordered the agency to turn over 55,000 a month. That means all the Pfizer vaccine data should be public by the end of the summer rather than the year 2097.

The fact that the FDA was somehow able to read all this material and come to a decision that the vaccine was safe but takes 75 years to cross out a few names to obscure patent details makes many cynics wonder. Of course if the FDA and Pitzers have nothing to hide, the early publication might help assuage the concerns of vaccine skeptics and convince them the product is safe.

Given that most of the material is in an electronic format it should be turned around pretty quickly.


Last modified on 10 January 2022
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