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COVID-19 vaccine delivery to begin in January, says U.S. official

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The administration “is accelerating production of safe and effective vaccines … to ensure delivery starting January 2021,” says Dr. Robert Kadlec

A Trump administration official main the response to the coronavirus pandemic says the U.S. can count on delivery of a vaccine beginning in January 2021, regardless of statements from the President that inoculations might begin this month.

And a rising, bipartisan refrain of lawmakers, specialists and public well being officers says the nation is in poor health ready for a projected winter surge of COVID-19.

Watch | Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine exhibits optimistic outcomes

Dr. Robert Kadlec mentioned in an electronic mail Friday that the administration “is accelerating production of safe and effective vaccines … to ensure delivery starting January 2021.” Dr. Kadlec is the Department of Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary of preparedness and response. HHS says a vaccine may very well be accepted earlier than the top of the yr however will take time to distribute.

President Donald Trump has mentioned at rallies, debates and press conferences {that a} vaccine might arrive inside weeks. “We think we can start sometime in October,” Mr. Trump mentioned at a White House press briefing final month.

Dr. Kadlec wasn’t the primary well being official to counter the president’s optimistic timeline. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar mentioned Thursday that there may very well be 100 million vaccine doses obtainable by the top of the yr “pending FDA authorizations.” And Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who’s main the federal government’s vaccine effort, instructed Marketwatch on Friday that researchers might know “by late October, or November, or in December” whether or not one of many vaccines in improvement is efficient, however that it will then take weeks to get emergency authorization to administer it.

When requested in regards to the disparity, the White House was not particular on a date however mentioned Trump’s precedence is to distribute a vaccine “as soon as possible.” Kadlec mentioned, with out elaborating, that it wasn’t right to conclude that this meant the nation couldn’t see a vaccine before January.

Dr. Kadlec was responding to a sequence of questions from and FRONTLINE in regards to the administration’s response to the pandemic and, in explicit, about shortages of crucial medical provides.

Roughly 9 months into the pandemic, well being care staff and even the Government Accountability Office report there nonetheless isn’t sufficient protecting tools for frontline staff or satisfactory coordination from the federal authorities. And though there are emergency preparedness and response plans in place, implementation has been inconsistent.

“We went into this pandemic unprepared, and we remain so months later,” said Boris Lushniak, former acting surgeon general in the Obama administration. “It is time to reevaluate the complete medical supply chain in the U.S. The federal government needs to take on the leadership role here.”

Across the country, public health leaders are warning about the coming months.

“A cohesive nationwide plan for equitably distributing PPE has nonetheless not been proposed, not to mention carried out,” mentioned Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Andrew T. Chan, who discovered Black, Hispanic and Asian well being care staff had the very best threat of contracting COVID-19. “Thus, we will continue to fly by the seat of our pants with our fingers crossed for the foreseeable future.”

Michael Lu, dean of University of California, Berkeley’s college of public well being, mentioned one vital a part of the answer lies in a bipartisan invoice quick tracked in the Senate that might rebuild the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen U.S. manufacturing of medical masks, robes and different protecting gear.

“We weren’t ready for the pandemic,” Lu mentioned. “And we are still not ready.”



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