Health

CDC Says COVID-19 Vaccine Could Arrive as Soon as October

The announcement may be part of President Trump’s efforts to appeal to voters.

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CDC Says COVID-19 Vaccine Could Arrive as Soon as October

The announcement may be part of President Trump’s efforts to appeal to voters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised government officials across the United States to prepare for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October or early November. According to a report by The New York Times, documents sent to public health officials note that high-risk groups such as health care workers, those 65 or older and Native Americans would be prioritized for vaccination.

Though an effective and safe coronavirus vaccine is urgently needed, the CDC acknowledged that its preliminary plans to ship, store and administer two possible vaccines candidates — referred to as Vaccine A and Vaccine B, most likely those developed by Pfizer and Moderna — would require a huge amount of effort and preparation by states, as well as the FDA.

In addition, public health experts warn that the announcement may be a move by the Trump administration to appeal to voters with the promise of a vaccine before Election Day on November 3. “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine,” infection prevention epidemiologist Saskia Popescu told the Times.

Rushed distribution may also result in health and safety ramifications. Typically, it takes years to reliably demonstrate that a vaccine is safe for distribution. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials, involving thousands of human participants. Moderna’s Phase 3 trial is not expected to be completed until October 2022. Administering a vaccine to the public before properly testing its efficacy and safety could be an irresponsible choice — in fact, the Times reports that though both vaccines have undergone extensive early tests, “it is not known if they’re safe and effective.

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The New York Times
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