The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told states to get ready for a Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to be ready by November 1, 2020, and asked them to remove obstacles that would prevent distribution sites from opening.
This disclosure is contained in a letter that was sent to the governors by the CDC Director, Dr Robert Redfield, a few days ago.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the CDC had in early August told states to assume for planning that limited doses of a vaccine could be available in fall. The new August 27 letter, which was first reported by the news organization McClatchy, sets the stage for a broader rollout. A spokesman for CDC confirmed the contents of the letter.
The new letter said the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC were rapidly making preparations to implement large scale distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in the fall of 2020.
The date suggests that the United States government anticipates that a vaccine will become available some days before President Donald Trump stands for reelection on November 3, an aggressive goal that would depend on shots being tested and reviewed by then.
Trump had previously said that he thought a vaccine would be ready by election day or soon before. He had also accused the staff of the Food and Drug Administration of slowing vaccine development to hurt him politically. These claims have raised questions about political interference in vaccine reviews.
While referring to the CDC letter, Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo said it was increasingly likely that many vaccine doses would be available by January.
Caputo in an email said, “Doctors and data are driving the development of all Covid-19 countermeasures. FDA career scientists will make these calls, independent government experts solemnly devoted to assuring the safety and efficacy of all vaccines.”
The CDC letter asks governors to hasten facility permit applications from Mckesson Corp., the distributor contracted by the government for the vaccine, and to waive rules that would prevent the sites from becoming fully operational by November 1.
Bloomberg reported this week that state health officials have separately been told to get distribution plans to the federal government by October 1.