The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has told state public health officials to prepare to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to all 50 states by the end of October.
In documents published early Wednesday afternoon, the CDC detailed the sequence for two unidentified vaccine candidates, alongside the high-risk communities that should be prioritized when systems are ready to issue them.
Presently, these communities are reported to include: health care professionals, essential workers, long-term care facility residents, and staff, national security populations, seniors, Native Americans, the incarcerated, and people from racial and ethnic minority populations.
The CDC will require two doses to be administered a few weeks apart at hospitals, mobile clinics, and any institution that can support easy access to the first targeted recipients listed above.
Recently, Ladders tracked the development of three vaccines that had reached phase three of trial development.
These were achieved by Moderna in conjunction with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Pfizer and BioNTech; and AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
Moderna began with a diverse test group of roughly 30,000 back in July and AstraZeneca began recruiting candidates not too long after.
Some manufacturers expressed interest in developing doses before trials were complete.
“I am cautiously optimistic that with the multiple candidates with different platforms, that we are going to have a vaccine that shows a degree of efficacy that will make it broadly deployable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and member of the US Coronavirus Task Force, explained in a release. “However, there is never a guarantee that you are going to get an effective vaccine. And I am a little concerned about the durability of the response.
“What I’d really like to see is a full court press to get us way down as a baseline, so that when you get these cases in the fall, they won’t surge up.”
Despite Dr. Fauci’s confidence that accelerated late-stage human testing could see up to 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive before the end of 2020, many are skeptical about the timing of the CDC’s breaking development.
The organization recently received backlash from various members of the medical community after a controversial guideline update calling for reduced antibody testing,
Similarly, after the declaration barring US health systems from sharing positive coronavirus cases with The World Health Organization, virologists and academics drafted a public letter requesting a repeal of the movement.
Moreover, the orders from the CDC were reportedly sent out last Thursday during the RNC.
Even if the trials prove successful, some experts fear proper distribution might be a formidable challenge.
The counter-argument thus far aims to align the needs of the American people and the ambitions of lawmakers.
“In the early months of the pandemic, as late as April, it was common to hear that there might not be a vaccine for at least four years, and many were not sure if it would be possible at all. It is now likely (though not certain) that there will be a pretty good vaccine within a year,” economist, Tyler Cowen, wrote in an open letter to scientists, researchers and other experts in public health in favor of the CDC’s issue. “My plea is that such arguments and others be accompanied by concrete numbers, if only rough back-of-the-envelope estimates, and that all of the factors be considered together.
Those numbers should incorporate the human, economic and public-health costs of allowing the current situation to continue for months. The result could be a useful public debate about the optimal speed of vaccine approval.”
Be sure to check back for relevant updates in the coming weeks.