CDC Asks States to Prepare for Coronavirus Vaccine Before End of Year

This May 4, 2020 file photo from the University of Maryland School of Medicine shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial. (University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

(CN) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told public health officials to be ready for a Covid-19 vaccine by early November, asking states to fast-track construction permitting for distribution sites.

Governors and health departments in all 50 states were reportedly recipients of the CDC’s letter from Director Robert Redfield dated Aug. 27.

Redfield said the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services “are rapidly making preparations to implement large-scale distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines in the fall of 2020.”

The CDC is urging states to cut down on building permit obstacles, bolstering production capabilities in case any of the several potential vaccine candidates are approved and ready for use. 

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur are among the pharmaceutical companies who have contributed potential vaccines under Operation Warp Speed’s toolbelt.

Operation Warp Speed is the Trump administration’s coronavirus response program led by Vice President Mike Pence.

But their medications are in various stages of testing, development and clinical trials. Many of these are not expected to yield definitive results for months. 

“The portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon at the end of this year,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement in July.

As the global race to stop the deadly coronavirus outbreak pushes scientists and organizations around the nation to develop an effective vaccine, Redfield said his agency has contracted the McKesson Corporation to distribute its vaccines to state and local health departments. 

Additionally, he reportedly asked officials to urgently come up with a plan to distribute vaccines as early as Nov. 1 — two days before the presidential election. 

More than 184,083 have died of Covid-19 in the U.S. and more than 6 million total cases have been reported in the country as of Wednesday. 

Distribution of a possible coronavirus drug cannot begin until clinical trials are successful and the Food and Drug Administration authorizes it.

In an interview Tuesday, the country’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said a vaccine may be available to some at-risk groups before the end of the year — cutting trials short only if certain medicines have overwhelmingly positive results.

A CDC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

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