Health officials across the country have been told they should expect a coronavirus vaccine to be available to health workers in high-risk groups by November, and the Trump administration is urging states to speed up vaccine distributor approvals ahead of the November elections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified health officials that “limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available through early November 2020,”
In the meantime, CDC director Robert Redfield wrote to the state governors asking them to prepare distribution locations. “CDC urges your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities, and if necessary, requests that you waive any requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020,” wrote Redfield, McClatchy reported.
The ambitious timeline of asking officials to prepare for the vaccine well in advance of the November elections has raised concerns that the Trump administration has politicized the vaccine development process and the president is trying to expedite a vaccine before election day.
The government’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” about a vaccine by the end of this year, but added that he “will not be satisfied with the release of a vaccine unless we know it is safe and effective”.
But Trump has instilled confidence that a vaccine will be available soon. When the CDC began alerting health officials of the possibility last week, Trump told supporters during his speech at the Republican National Congress, “We are delivering life-saving therapies and will be making a vaccine before the end of the year or maybe even sooner.”
Healthcare workers, national security workers, and other at-risk groups would receive the first round of vaccination according to instructions from the CDC.