FDA policy front and center as COVID-19 vaccine-centric social media post is removed

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Although television spots encouraging Americans to get vaccinated have been airing for months, specific vaccines must have FDA approval to be mentioned in ads — a fact that led to the removal of a social media post, the Tampa Bay Times reported Oct. 25.

Four things to know:

  1. An Instagram post claimed drugmakers have refused to market their vaccines on TV because it would force them to list possible side effects, the Times reported. The post was flagged for misinformation and removed from the platform.

    "Have you noticed there’s been no commercials for the death dart?" the Instagram post said. "Here’s why. Because in the US they are required by law to list all adverse side effects to medications advertised on TV to consumers. Fact check that."

  2. The reason the post was removed is related to FDA policy. The agency prohibits drugmakers from marketing products it has not fully approved. The only FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine is Pfizer, which reached that threshold in August.

  3. When the Pfizer vaccine gained FDA approval, it was unveiled that the drugmaker would market its vaccine under the name Comirnaty.

  4. Steven Danehy, a spokesperson for Pfizer, told the Times that the company "cannot share our specific plans at this time. But we plan to take a thoughtful approach to marketing and advertising Comirnaty." Because television advertisements are subject to FDA requirements, the ad campaign will identify the "most significant risks of the drug."

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