CDC (Disease Control and Prevention) of the US centers has asked state public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk groups as soon as late October, documents published by the agency showed on Wednesday.
A CDC spokesperson told, “For the purpose of initial planning, CDC provided states with certain planning assumptions as they work on state specific plans for vaccine distribution, including possibly having limited quantities of vaccine in October and November.”
Last month, the US health department said the CDC was executing an existing contract option with McKesson Corp to support potential vaccine distribution.
CDC Director Robert Redfield has asked state governors to expedite McKesson’s requests for building vaccine distribution centers and to consider waiving requirements that would stop them from becoming fully operational by Nov. 1, according to a recent letter obtained by Reuters.
Drug developers including Moderna Inc. AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc. are leading the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the respiratory illness.
The CDC documents describe two vaccine candidates that must be stored at temperatures of minus 70 and minus 20 degree Celsius. Those storage requirements match profiles of candidates from Pfizer and Moderna.
The timing of a vaccine has taken on political importance as US president Donald Trump seeks re-election in November, after committing billions of federal dollars to develop a vaccine to prevent Covid-19, which has killed more than 180,000 Americans.
The vaccines would be made available free of cost first to high-risk groups including health care workers, national security personnel and nursing home residents and staff, the agency said in the documents. Regulators around the world have repeatedly said development speed will not compromise vaccine safety, as quicker results would stem from conducting parallel trials that are usually done in sequence.
But such reassurance have not convinced everyone. Preliminary results of a survey conducted over the last three months in 19 countries showed that only 70 percent of British and US respondents would take a Covid-19 vaccine if available, Scott Ratzan, co-leader of a group called Business Partners to Convince, told Reuters in August.
CDC had contacted officials in all 50 states and five large cities with the panning information.