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Health News

November target for COVID-19 vaccine unrelated to U.S. election, HHS Secretary Azar says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference about the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developments, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott

(Reuters) - A targeted timeline of November for distribution of a potential coronavirus vaccine has “nothing to do with elections” as it was set by public health officials, U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview with CBS on Thursday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked state public health officials to prepare vaccine distribution to high-risk groups as soon as late October or November, according to documents published by the agency on Wednesday.

This timing has taken on political importance as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks re-election in November.

Azar said cbsn.ws/2F5mNc8 the documents sent to public health officials were done by the CDC to prepare for all contingencies.

“Nobody involved in this process is ever going to compromise on making sure that a product someone puts in their body is safe and effective,” Azar said.

The agency is preparing for one or two vaccines for COVID-19 to be available in limited quantities as soon as late October.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru

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