The FDA says it needs 55 years to release all of Pfizer's COVID vaccine data

Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency (PHMPT), as its name suggests, is a medical transparency group that filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the FDA for documents tied to its approval of Pfizer's BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  The FDA went to court and informed the judge that it was totally willing to comply with the request — except that it will take almost 55 years to do so.

The Epoch Times reports that the FDA claims to possess 329,000 pages of documents responsive to PHMPT's request.  Further, the FDA posits that reviewing the documents and redacting exempt material will allow it to produce, at most, around 500 pages per month.  At that rate, it will take 658 months — or 54 and 3/4 years — to complete the requested production.

PHMPT's attorney, Aaron Siri, instantly spotted the problem with the FDA's claim that the volume of documents makes it impossible to produce them in a more timely manner:

It took the FDA precisely 108 days from when Pfizer started producing the records for licensure (on May 7, 2021) to when the FDA licensed the Pfizer vaccine (on August 23, 2021). Taking the FDA at its word, it conducted an intense, robust, thorough, and complete review and analysis of those documents in order to assure that the Pfizer vaccine was safe and effective for licensure. While it can conduct that intense review of Pfizer's documents in 108 days, it now asks for over 20,000 days to make these documents available to the public.

So, let's get this straight. The federal government shields Pfizer from liability. Gives it billions of dollars. Makes Americans take its product. But won't let you see the data supporting its product's safety and efficacy. Who does the government work for?

Image: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine (cropped, edited in befunky) by Governo do Estado de São Paulo.  CC BY 2.0.

Put another way, if the FDA is correct that it has 329,000 pages that it cannot possibly review in fewer than 54 years, then the approval it gave after only 108 days is a fraud.  Alternatively, if that 108-day approval period was accurate, the FDA is currently engaged in a massive cover-up.

Siri draws the logical conclusion from the facts he's set out:

The lesson yet again is that civil and individual rights should never be contingent upon a medical procedure. Everyone who wants to get vaccinated and boosted should be free to do so. But nobody should be coerced by the government to partake in any medical procedure. Certainly not one where the government wants to hide the full information relied upon for its licensure until the year 2076!

I've worked on sizable document productions in my time.  Back in the beginning, in the 1980s and 1990s, that meant hand-reviewing hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of pages of material.  Nowadays, though, with everything computerized, it means loading the material into a computer program specifically created for document discovery.  That program sorts documents by date, creator, recipients, type of data, keywords, "exempt" words, etc.  A team working on this kind of production can complete even enormous reviews in four to six months.

While I'm not clear about what the FDA's game is with its promise to complete production by 2076, the one thing I know for certain is that it is, in fact, playing a game, and one that has already identified the American public as the loser.

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