CDC asks states to be ready for initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution by November
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New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control asks states to be prepared for initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine within a couple of months. That suggests November — just in time for the election. That timing is raising eyebrows among some health experts.
There are dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development, and several in final, large-scale tests. The CDC is telling states to be prepared to distribute limited supplies of one or two of those vaccines to frontline health workers and other priority populations.
Paul Offit, an infectious disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who sits on the Federal Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, said it will take time to evaluate the candidates.
“These are two-dose vaccines,” Offit said. “So you have to give dose one, wait a month, give dose two, wait another couple weeks, till you’re fully immune. Then you have to start to accrue cases in the placebo group and the vaccine group.”
Offit said he’d be surprised if a proven-effective vaccine is ready by late October or early November, as suggested by the CDC.
Other health experts are also raising questions, including about whether the timing is politically motivated. Even if an effective vaccine arrives soon, producing and distributing hundreds of millions of doses is likely to take well into 2021.
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