During a Senate hearing on the government’s response to the pandemic, CDC Director Robert Redfield adhered to President Trump’s repeated assertion that a safe and effective vaccine would be available in November or December – perhaps just before the presidential election seven weeks later.
But Redfield said the vaccine would be given first to people most vulnerable to covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, and supplies would increase over time, so Americans who have a lower priority for protection , will get the shot more gradually. To be fully accessible to the American public, so we̵
Although each individual vaccinated person should benefit, he said, the progressive expansion of its availability means that there will be a delay in the time between the approval of a vaccine and when it can have a measurable effect in controlling a pandemic. That could be six to nine months after the day it is approved by federal drug regulators, Redfield predicts.
He said the lag reinforces the importance of safety measures, such as keeping a proper distance, washing hands and wearing masks.
“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me from covid than when I get the covid vaccine,” Redfield said, as the vaccine is unlikely to elicit the desired immune response in anyone who received it.
The comments were the most detailed timeframe outlined so far by the leader of the main government public health agency. They are in line with the perspective of Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said in an interview this week for Detroit’s WDIV television that relatively small amounts of vaccine would initially be available.
“Only after we enter 2021 will you have hundreds of millions of doses and just logistics, restrictions on vaccinating large numbers of people,” Fauci said. “It will take months for enough people to be vaccinated to have an umbrella of immunity to the community so you don’t have to worry about easy transmission.
Redfield’s prediction came as Trump focused on the prospect of a vaccine as key to his second-term prospects, with a low voter approval rating for tackling his worst public health crisis facing the country and the world. one century.
“I really believe we’re going around the corner,” the president told a White House news conference last week, “and the vaccines are right here.”
The vaccine is also widely seen as a key point for Americans to differentiate themselves from the restrictions that the pandemic imposes on everyday life, from entertainment such as concerts and movie theaters to jobs that remain closed.
Internationally, there is a race between pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop safe and effective vaccines against the virus, which has infected nearly 6.6 million people in the United States and killed nearly 200,000. It usually takes years to develop a vaccine, but researchers are working with unprecedented speed. U.S. researchers set a target in January for a world-record rate of coronavirus inoculation within a year to 18 months.
Now, three experimental vaccines have entered the final stages of testing in the United States – giving them to thousands of people to test their effectiveness and safety – before submitting it for federal approval. There is a debate about whether the Food and Drug Administration should speed up the availability of a vaccine by hiring an emergency body that it has before going through the formal approval process.
The CDC said it should be ready to receive a coronavirus vaccine as early as November 1, two days before the election, prompting critics to say the date was politically motivated. Senator Patti Murray (D-Wash.), A senior Democrat on the subcommittee, accused the administration of “widespread political interference in the scientific decision-making process.”
Redfield opposed such proposals during an appearance Wednesday before a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Humanitarian Services, of which the CDC is a part. He said the advice to the states was based on the pace of science and not on any election considerations. And he said his agency was eager to avoid a recurrence of a problem that arose during the H1N1 virus pandemic in 2009, when the vaccine became available and states were not ready to receive and distribute it.
“We don’t want to repeat that hiccup,” Redfield told senators.
He also said the government did not have the approximately $ 6 billion it needed to distribute the coronavirus vaccine. Such funds were proposed in pandemic relief legislation, which Congress did not pass, amid party disputes over how much more help the government should provide for laid-off workers and various other purposes.
Providing this money, Redfield said, “is as urgent as raising production capacity.”