The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told states to prepare for widespread distribution of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine by the beginning of November, CNBC reports.
It obtained a copy of a letter CDC Director Robert Redfield sent to governors that said the health agency had contracted with pharmaceutical company McKesson to distribute millions of vaccine doses to health departments and others across the country. According to CNBC, Redfield writes in the letter that, if need be, the CDC "asks you to consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from being fully operational by November 1, 2020."
NPR adds that one of the planning documents outlines various scenarios for vaccine release. One scenario, for instance, describes the release of two vaccines beginning at the end of October, with about 2 million doses of "Vaccine A" and about 1 million doses of "Vaccine B" being ready by then and with increasing numbers of doses available through November and December, it adds.
However, as CNBC notes, it's unclear whether any vaccine will be ready for mass distribution by that point. NPR adds that three SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are in phase III trials in the US and that public health officials have said early 2021 is a more likely time frame for their availability.