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A federal judge in Texas on Friday, Jan. 7, ordered the Biden administration to release hundreds of thousands of pages of information regarding safety considerations for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer.
The judge set Jan. 31 as the initial deadline for a series of releases, ruling against the 75-year deadline the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had requested.
The FDA will have a month to release the information about the Pfizer vaccine
U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman of the Northern District of Texas ruled in favor of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in August by a group called Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency (PHPMT), arguing the public’s “unprecedented urgency” for access to detailed information on vaccines.
For its part, the FDA had argued that, because it was understaffed, it could only produce 500 pages per month, which meant that the full report would not be disclosed until 2097.
The ruling quotes the words of John F. Kennedy: “a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
As such, Judge Pittman deemed it “of paramount public importance” that the FDA produce the documents expeditiously.
The ruling orders FDA to produce the first 12,000 pages of information by January 31, and to distribute the remaining reports in 55,000-page monthly installments beginning March 1.
In addition, the judge ordered the parties to produce a joint progress report on the production of the documents beginning April 1 and every 90 days thereafter.