CDC asks Washington to have COVID-19 vaccine sites ready by Nov. 1

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is putting pressure on states to get COVID-19 vaccine distribution sites ready before Nov. 1.

“We’re planning towards that date so no matter when a vaccine actually ends up being available that we will be ready for that,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

To accomplish the massive task, the CDC is calling on all states, including Washington, to quickly open new distribution centers, preparing to give the vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups as soon as this fall.

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Neal Browning volunteered for a clinical trial. In March, he became the second person in the world to get the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

“[I’m feeling] completely fine, just normal like nothing even happened,” said Browning.

He said all 45 people in his test group produced antibodies similar to those seen in people who’ve recovered from COVID-19, but he worries a two-month vaccine timeline is too aggressive.

“My first thought is concern because Moderna just entered into Phase 3 of the clinical trial for this same vaccine back in late July and, until that phase is completed, there’s not really a safe way for the FDA to say, sure, this is great. The human population of the earth can take this safely,” said Browning.

The CDC contracted McKesson Corporation to distribute vaccines. In the letter, it asks governors to approve and possibly waive requirements for new business and building permits.

KIRO 7 asked Gov. Jay Inslee’s office if Washington would be ready in time. It stated: “Our state is already deep in planning for vaccine distribution. Whenever a vaccine is approved to be safe and effective, we will be ready. It is our expectation that FDA will only approve a vaccine after it has completed Phase 3 clinical trials and is shown to be safe and effective. FDA should avoid cutting that process short unless driven by science.”