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June 12, 2024
A worker near the Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium, on December 3.

UK receives its first batch of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

It’s still unclear whether a person who receives Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine can still transmit the virus, company CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday.

“I think this is something that needs to be examined,” Bourla said in an interview with NBC News scheduled to air Thursday night. “We are not certain about that right now with what we know.”

Bourla also told host Lester Holt he believes vaccine trial participants who received a placebo rather that the actual shot should get the vaccine.

“It is a moral and ethical dilemma and obligation,” Bourla said. “I believe that in discussion with regulators, we should find a way, so sooner rather than later, give to all the placebo participants the vaccine.” 

If that happens, it would mean unblinding the vaccine trial – something that could impact the longer term results, health experts have said. 

Pfizer has asked the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for its vaccine. The FDA’s advisers meet Dec. 10 to discuss the application.

But Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, told Holt there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

“We sort of have a million questions to make sure that we understand exactly what the safety issues are and exactly what the efficacy issues are,” Offit said. “Is it effective in people over 65? Is it equally effective among racial groups, ethnic groups? Is it effective in people who have various medical conditions?”

But there’s one question that he does have an answer for, Offit said.

“The standard we’re going to hold this too is, would I give this vaccine to myself or my own family? And if the answer to that question is, ‘I’m not sure,’ then we’re not going to move forward.”