Safety, effectiveness, transparency: What we still don’t know about Pfizer vaccine

Global markets surged and politicians and the public rejoiced online as Pfizer announced its Covid-19 vaccine was 90 percent effective, but not everyone is fully convinced, with a number of critical questions remaining unanswered. On Monday, US drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech announced their “interim analysis” of a 43,538-person study of their two-dose vaccine regimen having proved 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19. Just 94 cases of the disease were observed in the large-scale trial, and early indications are that the fight against the coronavirus may be shifting in humanity’s favor at last. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine had already boasted similar rates of effectiveness. However, with all the market surges, breathless news coverage, and political messaging about the vaccine, a number of serious caveats, concerns, questions, and a distinct lack of detail remain. We don’t yet know if the Pfizer vaccine entirely prevents infection, or whether asymptomatic carriers…