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State, health officials prep COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, vow transparency ahead of available vaccine

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — Recent polls – including one by the Pew Research Center – suggest Americans are very concerned about the safety and effectiveness of proposed COVID-19 vaccines. Then there is the question of how it will be distributed.

What could that look like here in Connecticut?

Governor Ned Lamont has put together an advisory group in charge of a distributing plan for COVID-19 vaccine, although there won’t be enough for everyone at first.

The commission will be headed by the acting Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford along with the President and CEO of Trinity Health Dr. Reggie Eadie.

Gov. Lamont said Vice President Mike Pence has directed governors to not only get a distribution plan in place, but to build confidence with the public that it will be done in a safe and effective way.

The governor described a recommendation from the White House Coronavirus Task Force: “You can focus on the seniors, you can focus on the most elderly, you can focus on the most vulnerable. You could focus on most essential workers, you could talk about college campuses.”

The African American community is particularly at risk from the virus and particularly skeptical of a vaccine. That’s according to a recent survey on blackdoctor.org. 58% of responders wouldn’t take a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it’s available.

Gov. Lamont said, “That’s why you’re gonna hear our best information and our best reasoning along the way that we’re gonna do everything we can to give people a little confidence. This is no Tuskegee experiment. This is something we’re in together, that’s gonna keep us and our families safe.”

Dr. Eadie added, “As an African-American, I am proud to be able to, not only represent the African-American community, but I will serve as an advocate to the African-American community because I need to develop a relationship with them. They need to trust me.”

Dr. Eadie went on to assure the public that the work the state is doing to plan for vaccine distribution will be transparent: “We promise to be transparent with the work that we’re doing. That’s extremely important…I think it’s an expectation of all the citizens that you know that the work that we’re doing is not done in secret.”

Dr. Gifford added, “I’ve been in public health for a long time now. This vaccine and getting it right will be probably one of the most important public health programs of my lifetime.”

Dr. Gifford also said a preliminary plan from DPH is due to the CDC by mid-October. While Gov. Lamont said that Dr. Redfield of the CDC is hopeful a vaccine will be readily available by April.

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