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CDC director Robert Redfield. Photo: Erin Scott/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week "urgently" requested governors to speed up their permit applications so vaccine distribution sites are operational by early November, McClatchy reports.

Why it matters: When a vaccine is ready, distribution is a major challenge the Trump administration is working to address. Supplies will be limited initially, and even if the most at-risk populations are given priority, that group still numbers in the tens of millions.

What they're saying: “The normal time required to obtain these permits presents a significant barrier to the success of this urgent public health program," according to a letter from CDC director Robert Redfield to state governors.

  • "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 November 1, 2020.”

The big picture: Several vaccines have already begun phase 3 trials. The U.S. has contracts in place to purchase hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine if any are successful.

What to watch: Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said earlier this week he would be willing to fast-track the vaccine approval process with an emergency use authorization before phase 3 trials are over.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 10, 2020 - Health

An economic tradeoff everyone agrees on

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

All lives are equally valuable. That's the strong consensus emerging from the many different countries and organizations that have struggled with the question of who should get first access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why it matters: The current scarcity of the vaccine looks like an economics problem — too much demand, and not enough supply. But no one is seriously proposing a market-based solution, where the vaccine goes first to those willing and able to pay to jump to the front of the line.

The hurdles we face before reaching herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Once 75%–80% of people get vaccinated against the coronavirus, there should be strong enough herd immunity that we can return to normal activities, NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

Driving the news: The FDA is meeting with outside experts today as the agency considers granting an emergency use authorization to Pfizer-BioNTech for their COVID-19 vaccine. A similar meeting is slated for next week to discuss a vaccine developed by Moderna.

Dem-led committee investigating pandemic accuses CDC of deleting evidence

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the chair of the oversight subcommittee tasked with looking at the coronavirus crisis, accused the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday of concealing evidence that a Trump appointee attempted to influence the agency's scientific case studies.

The big picture: A senior CDC official who heads the agency's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report," told Congress this week that director Robert Redfield told staff to delete an email that showed the Trump administration wanted to change language in their coronavirus findings, according to a letter from Clyburn.