CT’s COVID Task Force planning distribution options for vaccines once they are approved for the public

Coronavirus

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — With two companies announcing they have a COVID-19 vaccine that is more than 90% effective, how will it make its way to the public once it’s approved?

Two different vaccines, two different sets of logistics. And since there will be limited doses at first, the state has to prepare for both.

RELATED: Moderna becomes 2nd COVID-19 vaccine to show early success in U.S. tests

Governor Ned Lamont said of the distribution plan Thursday, “We are prioritizing front line workers. We’re asking them to go to work; the nurses and doctors which is where we could have a squeeze of our hospitals go to capacity, and then those who are the most vulnerable.”

So how do you get it to some of the most medically-fragile in nursing homes, especially when you consider Pfizer’s drug must be kept at almost 100° below zero?

To help with delivery, a Connecticut-based drug company has developed their own super-cold storage containers with dry ice nickname the “pizza box,” but it still won’t be easy to deliver.

“I think they are going to be bulk shipping and we will be responsible for the distribution here in the state,” the governor explained. “I think our amazing National Guard will be very helpful there and we have a large distribution facility.”

The National Guard may be able to move the vaccine from one place to another, but the governor is also looking to form public-private partnerships with medical labs and pharmacies who are already experienced in medicines.

“We are talking to Walgreens and CVS,” Lamont said. “What is the right type of partnership? Where you can store the stuff at 100° below zero and then track it? Because if it’s the Pfizer test you have to give a second injection in two or three weeks. We are talking 3.5 million people, that’s a lot of work.”

They also talked about how to convince people to take the vaccine, especially when there is hope on the horizon.

RELATED: Eastern Connecticut manufacturer Gilman Brothers gives first look at COVID-19 vaccine transport system

The state’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe reiterated during the COVID Task Force virtual meeting Thursday that the vaccine would be free for everyone, regardless of insurance.

“People who don’t have health insurance, fortunately, it’s not a huge number of people in the state. But regardless, this vaccine is going to be free to everyone so there will be no cost requirements for anyone to get vaccinated.”

While there are two vaccines on the market now, the governor’s vaccine task force is preparing for the potential of other vaccines to be released in the next couple of weeks and their logistics as well, a lot to take in in a short amount of time as the stakes are very high.

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