The nation’s top health official sent a letter to state governors last week, calling on them to fast-track the establishment of vaccine distribution sites by removing administrative barriers to make them fully operational by Nov. 1.
In the Aug. 27 letter, first obtained and reported on by McClatchy, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that a key hurdle to the distribution of what could potentially be hundreds of millions of vaccine doses meant for nationwide distribution was the time it takes to obtain new permits and licences for distribution sites.
“CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities,” he wrote, adding, “and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”
Redfield said that as federal health agencies are rapidly preparing to surge vaccine distribution across the country, they have partnered with McKesson Corporation on logistics. The company is expected to begin sending permit applications to state licensing agencies on a mass scale “in the near future,” which may include applying for relevant business and building permits.
“The normal time required to obtain these permits presents a significant barrier to the success of this urgent public health program,” Redfield wrote, adding that states may be asked to waive certain requirements to accelerate the process.
“The requirements you may be asked to waive in order to expedite vaccine distribution will not compromise the safety or integrity of the products being distributed,” he insisted, adding that fast-tracking the permits will be “critical to this public health effort to mitigate the threat presented by COVID-19.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the pathogen that causes the COVID-19 disease, has so far killed around 185,000 Americans.
While Redfield did not specify any milestones besides calling for distribution centers to become fully operational by Nov. 1, both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said at last week’s Republican National Convention that a vaccine could be approved by year’s end.
“Last week, Joe Biden said ‘no miracle is coming,'” said Pence, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is that America is a nation of miracles and we’re on track to have the world’s first safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year,” he added.
Touting “Operation Warp Speed,” the code name for the administration’s effort to develop and distribute a CCP virus vaccine and therapeutics, Trump spoke of “hundreds of millions of doses” being produced in advance so they can be made available quickly once approved.
“Under Operation Warp Speed, we have three different vaccines in the final stage of trials, right now, years ahead of what has been achieved before,” he said, adding: “We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year. And together we will crush the virus.”
A number of vaccine candidates are currently in phase 3 of trials—the final stage—or are scheduled to enter it in the near future.