Covid-19: Be ready to give out vaccine by Nov 1, CDC tells all US states

WASHINGTON: The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has notified public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to health workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November. The documents were sent out on the same day President Trump said in his speech at the Republican Convention on August 27 that a vaccine might arrive before the end of the year.
Experts agree that agencies at all levels of government should urgently prepare for the vast and complex effort to vaccinate hundreds of millions of Americans. But the possibility of a rollout in late October or early November has heightened concerns that the Trump administration is seeking to rush the distribution before Election Day on November 3. Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist, said: “It’s hard not to see this as a push for pre-election vaccine.”
The CDC plans lay out technical specifications for two candidates described as Vaccine A and Vaccine B, including requirements for shipping, mixing, storage and administration. The details seem to match the products developed by Pfizer and Moderna, which are the furthest along in late-stage clinical trials. On August 20, Pfizer said it was “on track” for seeking government review “as early as October 2020.”
Three documents sent to public health officials outlined detailed scenarios for distributing two vaccine candidates, each requiring two doses a few weeks apart. Besides health professionals, people aged 65 or older as well as “racial and ethnic minority populations” — known to be at greater risk — were prioritised.
Meanwhile, the US said it will not pay some $80 million it owes the WHO and will instead redirect the money to help pay its UN bill in New York.

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