CDC asks states to make COVID-19 vaccine distribution facilities functional by Nov. 1

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield reportedly requested that governors speed up permitting and licensing for distribution facilities

CDC logo on a podium in October 2014
CDC logo on a podium in October 2014
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Updated: September 2, 2020 - 11:21pm

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield is asking states to remove obstacles that could hinder coronavirus vaccine distribution sites from becoming completely functional by Nov.  1.

McClatchy obtained Redfield’s Aug. 27 letter and reported that the letter requested that governors speed up permitting and licensing for distribution facilities.

“The normal time required to obtain these permits presents a significant barrier to the success of this urgent public health program,” Redfield reportedly wrote in the letter. “CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities,” he said, “and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”

“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,” Redfield also said.

The Nov. 1 date falls just two days before the upcoming general election on Nov.  3.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials both require the recipient to receive two doses divided over a period of several weeks and both need to be stored and shipped in cold temperatures.

While an AstraZeneca vaccine just started Phase III trials on Monday, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are likely the only candidates that have any chance to start shipping this year. Moncef Slaoui, the leader of the vaccine development program of the federal government's "Operation Warp Speed," an effort to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine development, has said that vaccines needed to already be in Phase III trials to have the potential to become available this year.

"We set ourselves the timeframe of having the vaccines available by the end of 2020 or early 2021, which means they have to be in Phase III trials as we speak,” Moncef Slaoui said, according to McClatchy.

So far there have been more than 6.1 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 185,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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