State news

Lamont announces advisors for potential vaccine distribution

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration has begun the process of planning for the distribution of an anticipated coronavirus vaccine, announcing Friday the members of a wide-ranging advisory group that will recommend a statewide strategy.

The group will be led by Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting Department of Public Health commissioner, and Dr. Reginald J. Eadie, president and CEO of Trinity Health of New England. Members include state legislators, medical experts, union, business and religious leaders, state officials, academics and others.

During a briefing with reporters on Thursday, Lamont said he expects his advisory group will have multiple functions.

“One is just the science of the vaccines,” Lamont said. “When can we do it safely? How is it effective? How best to do it? How do you allocate? What would be those priorities?”

They’re expected to begin meeting in mid-October. The meetings will be open to the public.

It remains unclear when a vaccine will be ready for the state to distribute. In an Aug. 27 letter to governors, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told governors to be ready to distribute a vaccine by Nov. 1 and to expedite approval of applications for distribution locations.

Lamont noted that Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force who visited Connecticut on Thursday, recommended the state possibly prioritize older residents with preexisting conditions. Mathematica Policy Research, a firm the state hired to review its response to coronavirus infections in Connecticut’s nursing homes, recently recommended that residents and staff of long-term care facilities are given priority as well.

Lamont said the advisory group will also focus on communication and how to get information about any vaccine out to residents. Lamont relied on a different advisory group and private consultants when deciding how to reopen Connecticut’s economy following the pandemic shutdowns he ordered using his executive authority.


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