Health officials across the country have been advised that they should expect the coronavirus vaccine available to health workers in high-risk groups by November, and the Trump administration is asking states to speed up approvals for vaccine distribution sites before the November elections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises health officials that “limited doses of the Covid-19 vaccine may be available by early November 2020”, New York Times mentioned.
Meanwhile, CDC director Robert Redfield wrote to state governors asking them to set up distribution sites. Redfield writes: “The CDC is urgently requesting your assistance in expediting orders for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asking you to consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from operating fully by November 1, 2020.” McClatchy reported.
The ambitious schedule, which asks officials to prepare for the arrival of the vaccine in time for the November elections, has raised concerns that the Trump administration has politicized the vaccine development process, and that the president is seeking to expedite the introduction of the vaccine before Election Day.
The government’s chief infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about a vaccine by the end of this year, but added that he would “not be satisfied with launching a vaccine unless we know it is safe and effective.”
But Trump was exercising confidence that a vaccine would soon be available. When the CDC began notifying health officials of the possibility last week, Trump told his supporters during his speech at the Republican National Convention, “We are providing life-saving treatments, and we’ll produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe before that.”
Health care workers, national security personnel, and other at-risk groups will receive the first round of vaccinations, as directed by the CDC.