The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told state governors earlier this week to prepare their facilities for a Covid-19 vaccine before the upcoming November election.
The timing of its release suggests the CDC is taking orders from political leaders. Many health experts are wary as to the quick release, saying the vaccine could be rolled out before knowing how safe it is.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn told the Financial Times, his agency was prepared to authorize a vaccine before Phase Three clinical trials were complete, as long as officials believed the benefits outweighed the risks. But he defended his embattled organization against accusations that it was rushing the process to boost Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects.
According to NBC News, in the Aug. 27 letter, the director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said the CDC had contracted with a pharmaceutical company, McKesson Corp., to potentially distribute hundreds of millions of vaccine doses to health departments and medical facilities across the country in the fall.
This letter came the same day that President Donald Trump gave his speech at the Republican National Convention promising a vaccine would be available before the end of the year.
There are two different vaccine candidates the CDC promises. Both vaccine candidates would require two injections taken a couple of weeks apart and it identified at-risk populations and frontline workers as the people to receive the vaccine first, reports EcoWatch.
Redfield is asking governors to expedite applications for the vaccine distributions facilities in their state so facilities are ready when the vaccine is released: “If necessary [the agency] asks you to consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from being fully operational by November 1, 2020.”
According to EcoWatch, public health officials worry that the Trump administration is looking to roll out a vaccine prematurely, or at least to hype one, before the election as a way to score political points. There are Herculean logistical challenges involved in distributing and storing a vaccine in sub-zero temperatures to a messy and disjointed healthcare system.