CDC letter says states should prepare for COVID-19 vaccine distribution by Nov. 1

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 17:13:58-04

The CDC sent a letter last week to state health officials asking them to prepare for a vaccine by Nov. 1, just two days before the election, according to a copy of the letter obtained by ABC News.

In the letter, CDC Director Robert Redfield specifically requested that public health officials expedite any permit requests from vaccine distributors and clear any hurdles that may prevent distribution sites from getting up and running in time.

"CDC urgently requests your assistance in expediting applications for these distribution facilities and, if necessary, asks that you consider waiving requirements that would prevent these facilities from becoming operational by November 1, 2020," Redfield wrote in the letter.

The letter was sent to health officials in all 50 states and territories, according to administration sources familiar with the letter.

During a call with governors on Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the CDC is in the process of working with jurisdictions to update their plans for distributing a vaccine.

"CDC is also now in the process of working with five jurisdictions to update and hone their existing plans for distribution of an eventual vaccine," Azar said according to an audio recording of the call obtained by ABC News.

"Those plans will serve as a model eventually for CDC to work with all 50 states, several cities and the territories in developing their plans."

The directive raises concerns the administration could attempt to politicize a potential vaccine ahead of the election, and that it may be willing to compromise on safety measures to make one available quickly.

Redfield specifically noted in the letter that the timeline will "not comprise" the safety of the vaccine.

Letter to Governors Regardi... by Wmar Web