Experts are raising alarms after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a letter to governors last week instructing them to be “fully operational” for deploying a coronavirus vaccine on or even before November 1.
“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities,” Dr. Robert Redfield (photo, right), CDC Director, said in the August 27 letter, McClatchy DC reports, “and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”
The New York Times adds that CDC “has notified public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November,” noting that is “raising concerns over politicized timing.”
The same day CDC sent the letter President Donald Trump told supporters at the Republican National Convention, “We will produce a vaccine before the end of the year or maybe even sooner.”
“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. “It’s hard not to see this as a push for a pre-election vaccine.”
A Minnesota Star Tribune opinion writer on health care warns, “Politics is driving this.”
Politics is driving this, not science. Redfield continues to be an embarrassment. https://t.co/Z8ocvE0kK8
— jburcum (@jburcum) September 2, 2020
Stanford Medical Infectious disease professor:
The politicization of public health is inexcusable. When we erode trust in public health institutions, people die. Vaccination theater in the service of election shenanigans, and attempts to short-circuit safety and efficacy standards, will cost many lives. https://t.co/1S90qnPLCU
— Joshua Salomon (@SalomonJA) September 2, 2020
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security professor, vaccines expert:
— Nancy Connell (@ndconnell) September 2, 2020
Infectious disease specialist, asst. professor at Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University (and quoted above):
So now hospitals are being told they’ll be distribution sites for the COVID-19 vaccination roll out for Nov and to start planning soon….. I can’t even describe how worrisome this is.
— Dr. Saskia Popescu (@SaskiaPopescu) August 31, 2020
Pulitzer prize winning science journalist:
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) September 2, 2020
Obama health care head:
NEW: From this report, expect a photo-op of vaccines being delivered November 1.
CDC sends ‘urgent’ request for COVID vaccine plans by Nov. 1 | McClatchy Washington Bureau https://t.co/RQ3JZUKwuU
— Andy Slavitt @ 🏡 (@ASlavitt) September 2, 2020