CDC Says States to Prepare for Covid-19 Vaccines by November

The federal government is now telling states to expect a Covid-19 vaccine by Nov. 1 at the latest, two days before the presidential election, according to BoingBoing. In order to prepare, health experts are advising state governments to decide which high-risk groups will have priority for a vaccine. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said states will receive permit applications from McKesson Corporation which has contracted with the CDC to distribute vaccines to state and local health departments and hospitals.

“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020,” Redfield wrote in a letter written to state officials.

Redfield also asserted that the waivers would not compromise the safety of the vaccine or its effectiveness. Some are concerned the Trump administration wants to rush the distribution of a vaccine so it will arrive before the election.

“This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications,” Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist in Arizona, said.

However, even the CDC acknowledged the plan is most likely hypothetical, according to The New York Times. There are also risks in approving a vaccine for the public before Phase 3 clinical trials are completed since possible dangerous side effects could eventually show up.