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Prepare for coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October – CDC

September 2, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October/early November reports the New York Times.

The CDC sent out guidance the same day that President Trump told the nation in his speech to the Republican National Convention that a vaccine may arrive before year-end. The plans detail technical specifications for two candidates, dubbed “Vaccine A” and Vaccine “B,” including requirements for shipping, mixing, storage and administration. The details appear to match vaccines being developed by Pfizer (PFE +0.8%) and partner BioNTech (BNTX +6.9%) and Moderna (MRNA +2.0%), both requiring two shots 28 days apart. Pfizer has stated publicly that it is on track to seek an emergency use nod as early as next month.

NIAID’s Dr. Anthony Fauci and the FDA’s Dr. Stephen Hahn have both stated that a vaccine could be available to certain groups, such as front-line healthcare workers, before clinical trials are completed, if the data are strongly positive.

Public health experts agree that agencies at all levels of government should urgently prepare for the daunting and complex effort to vaccinate hundreds of millions of Americans.

Critics, such as Arizona-based epidemiologist Saskia Popescu, calls the timeline “deeply worrisome” adding “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine.”

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