CDC tells states to be ready for vaccines from Trump's 'Operation Warp Speed' at the start of November — 2 days before the election

Shealah Craighead, White HousePresident Donald Trump delivering remarks on Operation Warp Speed.

Summary List Placement

The Trump administration has asked states to get ready to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by November 1, two days before the presidential election.

The request was made in a letter, as reported by multiple news outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Politico.

In the letter, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s director, Robert Redfield, asks governors to cut any red tape that would prevent distribution centres from hitting the deadline.

“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 fully operational by Nov. 1, 2020,” it said.

The Dallas-based company McKesson Corp. and its subsidiaries have secured a government contract to distribute a vaccine, according to The Journal.

President Donald Trump has sought to accelerate development and approval of a vaccine via Operation Warp Speed, a government program that had an initial internal deadline of October, according to a slide deck seen by The New York Times.

Michael Caputo, a representative for Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, denied the October date.

The president, and top US health officials such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have more commonly talked about a vaccine being approved by the end of the year, or early 2021.

But a pre-Election Day vaccine has been referred to by Trump campaign advisers as “the Holy Grail,” according to The Times.

Fauci vaccineAl Drago/AFP via Getty ImagesDr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on June 30.

Some at the Food and Drug Administration have expressed concerns that the urgency of the effort could undermine the vaccine’s efficacy.

Dr. Paul A. Offit of the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, told The Times in early August that there were “a lot of people on the inside of this process who are very nervous” about the prospect of a rushed execution.

But White House officials told The Times that people’s health was the president’s highest priority and that their timescale “has nothing to do with politics.”

Later that month, unnamed sources told the Financial Times that Trump was ready to fast-track FDA emergency-use approval of an experimental vaccine being developed in the UK to get it out before the election.

A US Treasury representative denied this was the case.

Also in August, the president in a tweet speculated that unnamed officials were intentionally slow-walking clinical trials to hurt his election chances.^tfw

A rushed rollout could undermine public confidence in vaccines, which is already shaky. An Ipsos Mori poll released Monday found that a third of Americans said they planned not to take a vaccine when one became available.

The reasons given were not explicitly tied to the speed of development but more general worries about side effects and whether it would work.

Business Insider has contacted the White House for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.