The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked state public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk groups by November 1, documents published by the agency showed on Wednesday.
The timing of a vaccine has taken on political importance as US President Donald Trump seeks re-election in November, after committing billions of federal dollars to develop a vaccine to prevent Covid-19, which has killed more than 180,000 Americans. In a letter to governors dated August 27, Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson Corp, which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including 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.
"For the purpose of initial planning, CDC provided states with certain planning assumptions as they work on state specific plans for vaccine distribution, including possibly having limited quantities of vaccines in October and November," a CDC spokeswoman told Reuters.
The New York Times had earlier reported that the CDC had contacted officials in all 50 states and five large cities with the planning information.