In a series of documents sent to public health officials last week, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked all states to prepare to distribute a potential vaccine by 1 November.
The news followed a guidance issued by the CDC to states, first reported by The New York Times, to prepare for distribution of a vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups just weeks from now.
The CDC Director Robert Redfield has also sought permission from governors to fast-track related permits and licenses so any approved vaccines sites can be operational by 1 November, as per a CNBC report.
He noted that these waivers “will not compromise the safety or integrity of the products being distributed.”
The news was followed by speculation about whether the move is in response to pressure from the Trump administration to have an approved vaccine in distribution before Election Day in the US on 3 November, NPR reported.
Details about the organization’s timeline for vaccine distribution also came from Moncef Slaoui, one of the two men President Trump has tasked to lead Operation Warp Speed – an effort to bring a safe and effective vaccine to the US population by January 2020.
There are currently eight vaccine candidates in late-stages (Phase 3) of human trials, as per a 3 September update from the World Health Organisation. The US, via the Operation Warp Speed initiative, has billions of dollars riding on hundreds of millions of doses of six leading vaccine candidates – including those from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has previously said the U.S. could have results from one of the late-stage trials by November or sooner.
“The way the pace of the enrolment is going on and the level of the infections that are going on in the United States, it is likely that we’ll get an answer by the end of the year,” Fauci told MSNBC. “I would say a safe bet is at least knowing that you have a safe and effective vaccine by November, December,” he told the Times in UK.
Three vaccines have already been lined up for testing under Operation Warp Speed, to deliver at least 300 million doses of a potential vaccine available for use by January 2021.