Do not worry; the federal government is committed to transparency, and will be releasing data about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the public.
In about half a century.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facing a lawsuit by a group called Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency, which consists of more than 30 educators and scientists hoping to get information that will make people feel more comfortable about getting vaccinated.
The group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in September, and had hoped the courts could speed up the process of getting the requested information released.
Now the FDA wants 55 years – yes, that’s until the year 2076 – to round up and release the data to the public, reports DailyMail.com. The FOIA law, created in 1967, requires federal agencies to answer information requests within 20 business days.
The government’s central FOIA website says the complexity of requests and the number of requests pending can have an effect on that time limit.
In the case of the FDA vaccine data, all documents must first be reviewed and any information that reveals personal information about participants in clinical trials – or sensitive information about Pfizer or BioNTech that could affect their business dealings – would need to be removed. Lawyers for the Justice Department say that the request necessitates more than 325,000 pages of information.
Aside from that, the agency is already dealing with around 400 FOIA requests and has 10 employees – yes, 10 – who process such requests.
The good news is that the agency has proposed releasing 500 pages’ worth of information per month. Which would take 55 years to complete.
Plaintiffs argue that the agency should be able to get them the information by March 3, 2022, in just over four months, since that’s about the same interval of time it took to actually license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.