Public health officials across the country have been told to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October—though the CDC says this is just a hypothetical. In documents sent to health authorities in all states and territories, as well as five major cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and San Antonio), the CDC lays out the requirements for shipping, mixing, storing, and administering two vaccine candidates that might become available this fall. They're to be given first to health care professionals, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, essential workers, and national security employees, in two doses a few weeks apart, per CNN and the New York Times. Other populations considered at high risk—those 65 and older, in prison, and from "racial and ethnic minority populations"—are also to receive priority.
"Limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November," the documents note. They were sent Aug. 27, the same day CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield asked governors to prepare vaccine distribution sites by Nov. 1, per McClatchy. Redfield now tells Yahoo that he expects "one or more vaccines" to be available "in November, December." Though there's no vaccine currently approved for use, the CDC guidance appears to be based on two leading candidates. It refers to a Vaccine A, believed to be Pfizer's, which could have 2 million doses ready by the end of October, and a Vaccine B, believed to be Moderna's, which could have 1 million doses ready. Millions more doses of each vaccine are to be ready by the year's end, per the Times. But the "vaccine landscape is evolving and uncertain," the CDC points out, and these scenarios may change. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)