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The U.S. government is racing against time to prepare for a potential coronavirus vaccine as early as this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed health authorities and officials that certain groups of people may have access to an experimental vaccine as early as late October or early November.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, has stated in interviews over the past week that a vaccine for the virus may be available before clinical trials are completed if the vaccine appears to be working well. The people who would receive the vaccine first include healthcare and essential workers, senior citizens over 64, racial minority groups including Native Americans, people in prisons, and citizens living in higher risk areas.
The CDC has been referring to two vaccines in development, Vaccine A, which is assumed to be Pfizer’s product, and Vaccine B, which is assumed to be Moderna’s product. Both companies could have millions of doses ready for distribution by year end. Although many people are still becoming infected with and dying from the coronavirus around the world, putting a vaccine out before the last phase of clinical trials can be dangerous and result in unforeseen side effects. Testing takes a long time, as the vaccine needs to be tested on different people in diverse communities, ethnicities and age groups.
While pharmaceutical companies are busy testing the vaccines, the CDC, having learned from past mistakes, is making sure that the U.S. is prepared to be able to manufacture and distribute the vaccine to millions of people once the vaccine is considered safe and effective.