CNN – It’s true that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have emergency use authorization from the FDA and not full approval yet.
But that’s only because not enough time has passed to show how long the vaccines stay effective, Offit said.
Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is still highly effective after six months (and counting).
“Frankly, the only real difference was in length of follow-up,” he said. “Typically, you like to see efficacy for a year or two years.”
But with Covid-19 vaccines, “you couldn’t do that. You couldn’t do a one- or two- or three-year study … because the virus was killing hundreds of thousands of people. So we wanted to get it out there.”
He stressed that the vaccines’ EUA status doesn’t mean they’re less safe.
As a member of the FDA vaccine advisory committee, Offit said the vaccines are reviewed with the same level of scrutiny as they would to get full approval.
Offit said he’s confident the vaccines will get full FDA approval.
“The effectiveness and efficacy data in the Phase 3 trials and now in the real world … is excellent,” he said.
Also, the vaccine trials showed “excellent cellular immune responses — meaning so-called T helper cells.” Offit said that’s a good sign these vaccines give strong, long-lasting protection.
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