They’ve also advised the states on who should get vaccinated first — healthcare professionals, essential workers, national security “populations” and long-term care facility residents and staff.
The scenario documents do not necessarily mean a vaccine will be available by late October.
Pandemic planning exercises have for years included recommendations that the federal government ready a distribution network while scientists work on a vaccine. The Trump administration has said it’s doing this. Companies developing the vaccines are already ramping up manufacturing so that, in case one or more is found safe and effective in people, it could start going into arms immediately.
A Simple Preparedness?
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said it’s simple preparedness.
“Right now I will say we’re preparing earnestly for what I anticipate will be reality … that there’ll be one or more vaccines available for us in November, December — and we have to figure out how to make sure they’re distributed in a fair and equitable way across the country,” Redfield said during an interview with Yahoo Finance.
CNN reported last week that Redfield had asked states to speed through permits for medical and pharmaceutical supplies company McKesson to help distribute any eventual coronavirus vaccine. In a letter, Redfield asked them to waive any requirements that might get in the way of distributing vaccines by November 1 — before Election Day — and weeks, if not months, before most experts expect any vaccine to be fully tested.
Committee proposes a four-phase plan to allocate a future coronavirus vaccine
CDC Not Jumping the Gun?
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said he doesn’t read this as CDC preparing to jump the gun on a vaccine. He said it’s just in case one of the vaccines now being tested shows fast, clear evidence it is protecting people.
“Now, keep in mind that the likelihood of that is pretty low,” Collins told CNN. “This is like the Boy Scout motto, ‘Be Prepared,’” he said.
“Even if it’s very low likelihood, if everything happened to come together really beautifully and we had an answer by then and we knew we had a vaccine that was safe and effective, wouldn’t you want people to be ready to figure out how to do the distribution? That’s all that CDC is saying.”
Confident of An End of Year Vaccine
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is confident there will be a vaccine for the pandemic disease by the end of the year. “I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year, that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci said on NBC’s Today Show.
“THE COVID-19 VACCINE LANDSCAPE IS EVOLVING AND UNCERTAIN, AND THESE SCENARIOS MAY EVOLVE AS MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE,” ONE OF THE SCENARIO DOCUMENTS ADVISES.
Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, have said recently it’s possible the FDA could authorize an experimental vaccine before large Phase 3 trials are complete, if data shows a vaccine was safe and effective.
Three vaccines are currently in Phase 3 trials in the United States: those developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Pfizer and BioNTech; and AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.