COVID-19 vaccines went through each of the clinical phases. Vaccines were in trials for at least nine months.
Several social media users have falsely claimed that the development of COVID-19 vaccines was rushed, taking just six months. This is untrue. While both the speed and scale of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout picked up the pace to respond to the crisis, there is nothing to suggest it was rushed. All of the clinical phases and trials were followed accordingly.
Traditionally, the vaccine development process can take around ten years. But in order to respond to the public health emergency of COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) pushed for a faster process.
WHO said the companies could take various steps to reduce development timelines. These included plans to "mobilize more staff to analyze results from studies more quickly and map out next steps in terms of resources, funding and regulatory strategy," and to "combine clinical trial phases or conducting some studies in parallel where safe to do so." WHO clarified that the vaccination process must adhere to the "standards of safety and efficacy."
To allow the vaccine to be used in an emergency, the WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) was implemented. In event of a pandemic, products that could enhance people's lives worldwide could be blocked from reaching the market promptly, so the EUL was created as a response. A vaccine is passed under the EUL/Prequalification(PQ) process and then sent for production following WHO's approval. PQ is an assessment process that ensures quality, safety, and efficacy.
In March 2020, Pfizer performed a preliminary assessment of several antiviral drugs that had previously been used to combat COVID-19. On November 18, 2020, Pfizer announced that the BNT162b2 vaccine is 95 percent effective against COVID-19, 28 days after the first dose. The company announced that it would submit this evidence to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This suggests the vaccine was on trial for at least nine months.
We know that COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously assessed, with all multi-stage testing processes followed. It is not true that the process was rushed, or that this took place within six months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.