The United States federal government announced that a coronavirus vaccine will soon be available and told local states to prepare for the treatment's distribution on November 1.
The announcement quickly garnered widespread concern and criticism among several public health officials. Experts considered the move as an "October surprise," which they believe is more of an order that supports political campaigns more than science.
Coronavirus vaccine coming soon
According to AP News, a letter addressed to governors dated August 27, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Redfield, said US states would soon receive permit applications given by McKesson Corp. The company has contracted with the CDC to give out vaccines for the coronavirus to areas across the nation, including local health departments and hospitals.
Redfield stated that the CDC is urgently requesting the aid of states in the rapid processing of applications for the vaccine's distribution. He also asks states that, if necessary, to waiver requirements imposed on facilities that prevent them from being fully operational by November 1.
The official also wrote in the letter that any waivers that will be given to facilities would not compromise the safety or efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine.
The agency has also sent out three planning documents to several health departments to help them with the operations. The papers include potential timelines for when the COVID-19 vaccines would become available.
The CDC said that the documents are designed to create plans in the early stages of the vaccination process when the supply of the injections is severely limited. One document outlined a scenario detailing a vaccine's possibility of becoming available as early as the end of October.
A rushed treatment?
The agency's new guidelines are the latest suggestion that the United States is accelerating its efforts in the ongoing race for a working vaccine that would help reduce the number of casualties of the pandemic, as reported by The New York Times.
In the United States, the COVID-19 virus has killed more than 184,000 Americans. The CDC sent out the documents on the same day that United States President Donald Trump's speech in the RNC. During his talk, the Republican leader told the nation that a coronavirus vaccine would possibly be available before the year ends.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Stephen Hahn, a top infectious disease expert in the country, have frequently stated during interviews in the past week that a vaccine could become available to certain groups even before clinical trials are conducted if the results are seen to be significantly positive.
Several public health experts agree that agencies at all government levels should immediately prepare for the incoming procedure of vaccinating millions of Americans, which will prove to be a complex effort.
However, the possibility of vaccine distribution in late October or early November raised concerns among experts that Trump's administration is rushing its efforts to send out coronavirus vaccines before the elections scheduled on November 3.