State panel grappling with who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Some big decisions are about to happen with the rollout of the COVID vaccines here in the United States. The feds are making recommendations, but it will be up to the state of Connecticut who gets the shots first.

The state has been making battle plans since October. Waiting is the hardest part in this pandemic.

Representative Josh Elliott, a Democrat from Hamden, is on a state task force meeting weekly to figure out how the vaccine rollout will work.

“Pfizer has told us that even though they can’t distribute the vaccine yet they have 10 million doses ready to go in the U.S. right now.”

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decides whether the COVID-19 vaccine can be authorized for emergency use.

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Dr. William Petit a Republican from Plainville on the state’s scientific subcommittee, will review the FDA’s work.

“As you well know these vaccines require two injections approximately three weeks apart so if we are allocated for instance one million doses there would be 500,000 for the first round and 500,000 for the second round.”

A massive 100,000 page review for the Pfizer vaccine could come as early as next week.

RELATED: 1st COVID vaccines should go to health care workers, nursing homes, panel says

Dr. William Petit adds the group’s job is to make sure, “That the vaccines are safe and effective to the best of our ability given the data that will be supplied.”

Once the government approves the the vaccine for distribution, it will be released within 24 hours.

At this point, the state’s advisory committee’s 77-page draft report suggests healthcare personnel, EMS, firefighters and police would get shots first.

Could janitors and food service workers who are employed at hospitals and nursing homes get the vaccine?

The ultimate question for the advisory group is how much vaccine will you get?

“Once we know then we’ll have a better idea of…even though we have four tiers within the first tier and we know where we want it to go…if we have enough, yes – if we don’t maybe, not,” added Rep. Elliott.

Then the state has to track and analyze how vaccines are working and report that through a CDC “gateway.”

The landscape is evolving. Everyone is quick to point out scenarios could change with more information.

On Tuesday the CDC panel voted to distribute the first COVID-19 vaccine shots to healthcare personnel and long-term care residents. The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13 to 1 in favor of giving priority to health care workers and nursing home patients in Phase 1.

The state advisory subgroups will meet again this week. The larger group will meet on Dec. 17.

At that point the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could have approval. Hartford Healthcare officials say the general public, adults only, should be able to walk into your local pharmacy and get the vaccine by June.

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