Report: CDC urges governors to be ready for coronavirus vaccine by November

September 2, 2020

In a letter, the agency pushes states to fast-track permitting and licensing for possible distribution sites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is telling states to be ready for COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine distribution centers in their communities by Nov. 1.

According to an Aug. 27 letter reported on by McClatchy DC, the CDC is directing governors to ease the permitting and licensing requirements for new distribution sites by fast-tracking applications or otherwise waiving the requirements which could hinder their opening by Nov. 1 while assuring that any requirements that are waived will not compromise the vaccines distributed from the sites.

The move is part of the Trump administration’s push for a rollout of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. The Nov. 1 date raises eyebrows among observers due to its proximity to the general election vote in which Democrat Joe Biden will seek to unseat President Donald J. Trump. Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been a consistent talking point around the country and will likely play a part in many citizen’s vote.

The CDC’s letter shows that administration officials are beginning to consider the logistics of distributing as many as 330 million doses of a possible vaccine to Americans, but The New York Times reports that public health experts are saying that preparations should be made at all levels of government.

In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) placed an initial order for 100 million doses of vaccine candidate BNT162, which was developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech, for $1.95 billion after it is manufactured and either obtains approval or emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The government also has the option to purchase an addition 500 million doses of the vaccine and it will be offered to Americans free of charge.

If the ongoing studies are successful, the companies plan to seek Emergency Use Authorization as early as October.