The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told all 50 states to prepare for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine that could arrive by late October or early November, The New York Times reported. The notifications were sent the same day that President Donald Trump said in a nationally televised speech to the Republican National Convention that a vaccine could be available by year's end.
The bitterly contested presidential election is Nov. 3.
With more than 184,000 lives lost to the deadly virus, rapidly developing a vaccine has been a focal point in combating COVID-19.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, have recently said in media interviews that a vaccine might be available for limited groups before clinical trials are conducted if its effectiveness is extremely strong.
The CDC notifications describe two specimens identified as Vaccine A and Vaccine B, including requirements for shipping, storing and administering them.
The details seem similar to products developed by Pfizer and Moderna, two large pharmaceutical companies that are farthest along in clinical trials.
Last month, Pfizer said it was “on track” for asking government reviews “as early as October."
The possible roll out generated concern that the effort was geared to influence the November election.
“This timeline of the initial deployment at the end of October is deeply worrisome for the politicization of public health and the potential safety ramifications,” said Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist based in Arizona, the paper reported.
“It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine," she said.