BOSTON (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Centers for Disease Control is telling the country’s governors to prepare for a large scale roll-out of the first coronavirus vaccine by early November
A letter from CDC Director Robert Redfield asked governors to waive restrictions that would prevent vaccine distribution facilities from being fully operational by November 1st - two days before election day.
Governor Charlie Baker told us today he wants to see the vaccine complete its trials before being sent out to people.
“I get why people want the vaccine tomorrow,” Baker said.
Baker sympathized with Massachusetts residents who are ready to roll up their sleeves in the fight against coronavirus
The CDC told governors in a letter last week that states should be ready to distribute coronavirus vaccines on a large scale by November 1.
The date, two days before election day, raised eyebrows about whether or not the vaccine is being rushed.
Western Mass News asked Baker to respond.
“This shouldn't be based on a date. It should be based on a process and a set of protocols that are pretty standard operating procedure in this country when it comes to this kind of work,” Baker added.
Several vaccines have been fast-tracked for production before their third rounds of trials were completed.
The CDC is urging governors to prepare for a large-scale roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine by the first of November.
FDA officials said some vaccines could get emergency authorization for use before their Phase III trials are complete if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Baker, however, is more wary.
“I have no idea how long those trials are going to take, but those trials need to be able to run completely through their course,” Baker explained.
Meanwhile, state health officials are preparing regardless, planning to invoke the help of those outside of government to make sure the vaccine is distributed fairly.
“We've had an internal working group working on making sure our infrastructure is in place,” said Mass. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.
Sudders expects guidance from the feds on who would be first to get the vaccine.
Western Mass News spoke with Clinton Mathias, an immunologist from Western New England University, about the likely prioritization.
“Healthcare professionals and people who are on the front lines,” Mathias explained.
Mathias said in skipping part of Phase III trials could create uncertainty as to how effective the vaccine is and when it is determined to be effective, he said a large percentage of the population has to get it in order to achieve some semblance of herd immunity.
“If we were to get close to 50 or 60 percent, I think as Dr. Fauci stated recently, that should be pretty good,” Mathias added.
Mathias said one takeaway from that is because it’s likely any vaccine approved for use in late October or early November won’t be available right away to the full public, people shouldn’t ease up on safety precautions around the holidays.