A successful vaccine for COVID-19 could be months away or even further into next year. But Governor Ned Lamont wants to make sure Connecticut is ready to go when it does become available.
While the race is on to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, on Thursday, people logged on for the first virtual meeting of the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine advisory group.
“This is very important work and the ultimate outcome and our measure of success is the number of lives that we save,” said Dr. Reginald J. Eadie, Trinity Health of New England president and CEO. Eadie is also a co-chair of the advisory group.
Among those asked to join were lawmakers, leaders of community organizations and health care workers.
“This is such a key component to have another strategy to help prevent infections, prevent the hospitalization and deaths,” said Jessica Abrantes-Figueiredo, St. Francis Hospital Chief of Infectious Diseases.
There’s a lot for the group to consider: Who should get the vaccine first? Where should they go to get it? And how long does the state have to prepare?
“Do we know when we’re going to find out about what product will be available and what that supplies will look like?” asked Richard Martinello, Yale New Haven Hospital Medical Director of Infection Prevention.
“We’re all sitting on the edge of our seats watching this play out,” said Eadie.
Right now, the state has drafted an initial plan which it will submit to the CDC on Friday.
It also wants the group’s feedback on its ideas so far which includes sketching out the priority groups for a vaccine, such as essential workers, finding places like hospitals to give out the vaccine and making sure they can keep track of people who were vaccinated since it’s likely two doses will be required.
Eventually this group is expected to provide guidance to the governor about the validity of the federal approval process, how to reach all communities and ensure the vaccine is given out fairly.
“It’s going to be critical in its importance,” said Dr. Deidre Gifford, Public Health Acting Commissioner.
On Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he thinks we’ll have more than one vaccine and we could have one as soon as the end of this year.
It’s expected to be more widely available in the second half of next year.