Trump moves up initial vaccine release to before election

The Trump administration has moved up the needle for getting a coronavirus vaccine into the arms of the public —from the end of the year to just before the presidential election.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities to prepare to distribute an unidentified coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November, according to the New York Times.

While Boston wasn’t on the list (which comprised of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, and San Antonio), Massachusetts public health officials did receive documents outlining scenarios for vaccine distribution, which include assumptions of how many vaccinations will be available, what temperature they should be stored at, how often they should be proctored, and who should get them first.

The details listed for the vaccines — including the dosage, the number of days needed between doses, and the type of medical center that can accommodate the product’s storage — match what Pfizer and Moderna have said about their products, writes the Times.

The guidance prioritizes long-term care and national security employees along with other healthcare workers. People 65 or older, the incarcerated, and minorities are also listed to receive the future vaccine first.

Tory Mazzola, the spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Command Center,told WCVB that, in anticipation of the approval of one or more COVID-19 vaccines, the COVID-19 Command Center has an “active inter-agency working group evaluating the deployment of a vaccine. The working group is developing plans to ensure an equitable and speedy distribution to Massachusetts communities based on guidance provided by the CDC.” What those plans are exactly haven’t been detailed.

The timing is unusual. Dr. Anthony Fauci had said the majority of the general public will not be able to get the shot until the spring or summer of 2021 at the earliest. Critics are concerned the November 3 election is coming into play, and that protocols for vaccination creation will be shirked.

“There are very strict rules set up in advance of a trial in order to determine when such decisions might be made, so they can be done in an outside way that’s ironclad and not subject to outside interference,” Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told WCVB.

Stephen Hahn, the commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, had previously said he would approve a vaccine if one is shown to be safe and effective. Trump has taken issue with that.

“We are delivering life-saving therapies, and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” Trump said at last week’s Republican National Convention, even though no drug companies have completed clinical trials. The CDC sent out the documents to states the same day as the speech.

SARAH BETANCOURT

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Jake Auchincloss appears to be leading in the Democratic primary for the 4th Congressional District seat, but vote counting is still going on. In some cases, votes weren’t counted because of mistakes made at the polls.

Lobbying remains lucrative during the pandemic — we have the numbers on who’s spending the most and which lobbying firms are making the most.

The COVID-19 situation worsened over the last two weeks, as the number of high-risk communities held steady while moderate-risk communities ballooned.

State prisons, returning to a new normal, are starting to resume in-person visits and programming.

US Attorney Andrew Lelling accuses nine Boston Police officers of embezzling $200,000 by collecting for overtime they didn’t earn.

Opinion: Keri Rodrigues of the National Parents Union isn’t happy about how parents are being left out in the discussion of how to effectively reopen schools.

FROM AROUND THE WEB             

 

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A neo-Nazi group is trying to recruit and advertise by posting stickers around Salem. (Salem News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

State officials suspended the certification of a Boston assisted living facility after finding it had locked dementia patients in their rooms to enforce coronavirus quarantine. (Boston Globe)

A Boston startup has raised $100 million for its telehealth monitoring technology venture. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

The Telegram & Gazette looks at why Rep. Joe Kennedy performed so well in the Senate race in Worcester and Worcester County, even as he lost statewide. President Trump weighs in on Ed Markey’s Senate victory, saying it is an example of the “new Radical Left Democrat Party” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “strongly backed the loser.” (MassLive) Republican Senate nominee Kevin O’Connor challenges Markey to debate. (Boston Herald) Eileen McNamara, who teaches journalism at Brandeis University, says Kennedy lost because of his impatience and hubris. (WBUR)

On a campaign swing to the South, President Trump urged North Carolinians to vote twice in November — once by mail and then in person — to test fraud detection systems, something that would be a felony in the state if done intentionally. (Washington Post) MassLive reporter Steph Solis voted by mail and in-person — here’s how, and here’s why only one of those ballots counted. In a separate story, Solis writes there were some glitches related to the voting by mail process.

Facebook says it will ban new political ads in the final week of the campaign leading to the November election. (New York Times)

MassLive looks at how Rep. Richard Neal pulled off his victory over Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, concluding that voters focused on “meat and potato” issues over progressive causes.

North Shore town clerks said primary turnout this year was double prior primary elections, driven by an increase in mail-in voting. (The Salem News) Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham calls mail-in voting a resounding success for democracy.

Randolph Republican Rayla Campbell is hoping to learn today whether she cleared the 2,000-vote threshold with write-in votes necessary to appear on the November ballot challenging Democratic US Rep. Ayanna Pressley. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Residents getting unemployment benefits will begin getting an extra $300 a week, with payments retroactive to August 1. (Salem News)

The Brewster Select Board voted the Woodshed after finding out the bar had two violations of the state’s COVID-19 regulations. (Cape Cod Times)

Devens, a former 4,400-acre army base, has doubled the number of jobs there since 2012, with about 6,000 jobs, nearly half of them in manufacturing. (Telegram & Gazette)

A survey done by the Dallas Fed shows two-thirds of all employees are heading to workplaces, a higher number than Globe business columnist Larry Edelman says he would have guessed from the luxury of his white-collar world in his home office.

The Herald News takes a look at the Fall River tug boat industry, which is plugging along during the economic crisis.

Basketball icon Michael Jordan is joining DraftKings as a special adviser. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

GradGuard, the country’s largest provider of tuition insurance says inquiries have gone up dramatically as students return to school during the pandemic. (GBH)

Springfield Technical Community College’s staff organization is trying to get the school’s president and vice-president fired over coronavirus-related program and staff cuts. (MassLive)

Framingham schools prepare to furlough workers who work in food service and other non-teaching positions. (MetroWest Daily News)

Many local private schools are welcoming students back full-time and in-person on the South Shore. (Patriot Ledger)

TRANSPORTATION

US Rep. Seth Moulton, fresh from a primary victory over two challengers, says a top priority for him is electrifying the commuter rail line serving Lynn. (Daily Item)

Northampton’s Main Street redesign, featuring less parking and bike and pedestrian pathways, gets mixed reviews.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Five of the six retired Boston cops who were accused of overtime fraud are receiving, collectively, $36,000 a month in pension benefits. (MassLive)

A former leader of the New Bedford Chapter of the Latin Kings pleaded guilty today to drug conspiracy charges, says US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office. (Standard-Times)

PASSINGS

Tom Seaver, regarded as the greatest New York Met of all-time, died at age 75. (New York Times)