FACT CHECK: Is Pfizer Developing A COVID-19 Pill To Be Taken Every Day After Being Vaccinated?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

A post shared on Twitter claims that Pfizer is developing a “COVID Pill” meant to be taken twice a day “alongside” COVID-19 vaccines.

Verdict: Misleading

Pfizer is working on creating a pill to treat COVID-19 in non-hospitalized infected individuals. The treatment is not preventative or meant to be taken “alongside” COVID-19 vaccines.

Fact Check:

On Sept. 1, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced in a tweet that Pfizer’s antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 would be moving on to phase 2/3 of its study. “Success against #COVID19 will likely require both vaccines & treatments,” the tweet reads. “We’re pleased to share we’ve started a Phase 2/3 study of our oral antiviral candidate—specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2—in non-hospitalized, low-risk adults.” Bourla also shared a press release announcing the advancement of the study.

A Sept. 2 Twitter post seems to misinterpret Bourla’s announcement. “Pfizer Is Now Developing A Twice-Per-Day COVID Pill That Must Be Taken Alongside Vaccines. Pfizer is so confident the pill will be approved and likely mandated that it has started production before the end of clinical trials $PFE,” the tweet says.

However, the pill is not intended to be taken “alongside” the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, as claimed. The vaccines are, according to the CDC, meant to prevent infection and severe illness of COVID-19, while the pill is intended to be a treatment used at the first sign of illness from COVID-19, CNBC reported. The new treatment could, if successful, address a “significant unmet medical need, providing patients with a novel oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring hospitalization,” according to Pfizer’s Sept. 1 press release.

Pfizer spokesperson Keanna Ghazvini further explained in an email to Check Your Fact that the pill is not meant to work in conjunction with the vaccine. (RELATED: Viral Post Claims The FDA Did Not Approve Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine)

“The twice-daily oral drug for COVID-19 is an investigational treatment for non-hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19 infection,” Ghazvini said. “It is not studied in combination with the vaccine or intended to be taken alongside the vaccine as one is preventative and one is a treatment. It is for those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to treat symptoms – it is still being studied and not approved.”

Pfizer and BioNTech developed the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccine, NPR reported.

Mecca Fowler