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Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine by November? The CDC surely thinks so

CDC has told states to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine in the fall.

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This March 16, 2020 file photo shows vials used by pharmacists to prepare syringes used on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial of the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in Seattle.

This March 16, 2020, file photo shows vials used by pharmacists to prepare syringes used on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial of the potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in Seattle.

Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked major cities and all 50 states to prepare to distribute a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in about two months.

What’s going on?

CDC Director Robert Redfield sent a letter to all U.S. governors that said the government is teaming up with McKesson to distribute the novel coronavirus vaccine to local health departments and doctors offices, according to McClatchy News Service.

The letter asked governors to expedite any and all applications for distribution areas that the company might request.

CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by Nov. 1, 2020. The requirements you may be asked to waive in order to expedite vaccine distribution will not compromise the safety or integrity of the products being distributed.

The CDC plan included details about two vaccine candidates — Vaccine A and Vaccine B — as well as requirements for any shipping, mixing or storage of the vaccines, according to The New York Times.

The plan also suggests health care professionals — including long-term care employees — would be among those to receive the vaccine first.

Communities at risk — including those 65 or older, Native Americans, those from “racial and ethnic minority populations” or incarcerated individuals — were also listed among the priorities, The New York Times reports.

However, experts told The New York Times that this might be a political ploy since October is right around election season.

This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications. It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine. — Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist based in Arizona, told The New York Times

Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently told CNBC he doesn’t expect to see the vaccine available by November.

  • “I think it’s very unlikely. I think it’s more likely you’re going to get a top-line result some point in November and maybe be able to make a decision about an emergency use authorization after that.”
  • “If the vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID disease, probably 70% to 80% effective based on how the trials are powered, you could get a readout at some point in October, a sort of top-line readout. But it’s more likely that you’re going to get a readout from those trials in November.”