CDC, HHS tells governors to ready ‘large-scale’ distribution of COVID-19 vaccine
Reaction from Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, NYU Langone professor of medicine.
A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution as early as October or November, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told state officials, according to reports.
The vaccine would first be distributed to health care workers and those at higher risk, according to The New York Times.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said publicly that vaccine trials could end early if the results are overwhelmingly positive.
Two ongoing clinical trials are on track to conclude at the end of this year but Fauci said an independent board has the authority and “moral obligation” to end the trial early and distribute it to accelerate distribution if the results are good, according to Kaiser Health News.
The vaccine’s potential fall timeline has raised some concerns by health experts over possible political pressure by President Trump and the White House to hurry a vaccine before the Nov. 3 election, even if it’s not safe.
“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, told the Times. “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine.”
Dr. Cedric Dark, an emergency medical physician at Baylor College of Medicine, told The Times, “The timeline that’s reported seems a bit ambitious to me. October’s like 30 days away.”
The distribution of hundreds of millions of vaccines to states across the country presents its own logistical challenge, not to mention that more than 1 in 3 Americans said they would refuse a vaccine if available, according to recent poll.
The CDC gave technical specifications for the storage, shipping and mixing of either vaccine A or vaccine B, which is likely two vaccines being developed by Pfizer and Moderna, the two that are furthest along in clinical trials, The Times reported.
Both vaccines would require two doses a few weeks apart.
The CDC stressed that the November timeline was hypothetical. “The Covid-19 vaccine landscape is evolving and uncertain, and these scenarios may evolve as more information is available.”
Production of a coronavirus vaccine has already been sped up rapidly. Vaccine trials often take years before a safe product is available to the public.
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