CT Coronavirus Vaccine Plan: Five Things To Know

CONNECTICUT — The state Department of Public Health submitted its draft mass vaccination plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday, which marks the start of the massive logistical undertaking to get as many of Connecticut’s 3.5 million residents vaccinated as soon as possible.

The draft is being further refined by the state’s vaccine advisory group, which met Oct. 15.

Lamont announced the full membership of the group. It is headed by state Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford and Dr. Reginald Eadie, who is the president and CEO of Trinity Health of New England. It also includes state legislators, medical experts and several others.

Here are five things to know about the state’s vaccine plan to date:

The vaccine plan is a draft

There are still several outstanding questions about the vaccines, including when one or more will be ready, how many doses will be available in the initial batch and how effective they are at preventing coronavirus infections.

Federal officials occasionally brief Connecticut health officials on the vaccine status, Gifford said during the vaccine advisory group’s meeting. Federal health officials are cautiously optimistic that the effectiveness of one or more vaccine candidates will be known by the end of the year.

DPH is planning for three vaccine phases

The first phase will be when the vaccine is first released and supply will likely be very limited.

Populations of focus will be people working in healthcare settings who may have direct or indirect exposure to the coronavirus, according to the draft document. Another focus during the first phase will be other essential workers and people at increased risk of serious COVID-19 complications including people 65-years-old and older.

The state vaccine advisory group will iron out the details of who falls into the first category and will give its recommendations to Lamont.

Vaccines will likely be administered in closed settings such as workplaces during the first phase.

DPH assumes there will be sufficient supply to meet demand in the second vaccine phase and vaccine administration can take place through more traditional routes like clinics, doctor offices and retail pharmacies. The second phase would focus on people in the first phase who didn’t get vaccinations, other critical populations and then the general population.

The third phase assumes a sufficient vaccine supply and slowing demand for the vaccine.

There are a few vaccine candidates in the U.S.

The U.S. has a few vaccines candidates that are currently in large phase 3 trials, according to the New York Times.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine trial was paused Oct. 12 in order to investigate a reported adverse reaction in a volunteer. AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials in the U.S. were temporarily halted due to an adverse reaction in a volunteer.

There will be some logistical challenges

Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine candidates will likely require deep freeze conditions until the vaccine is administered, which would require the vaccine to be kept at -112 degrees Fahrenheit. This low temperature often isn’t available at doctor offices, according to ABC News.

Federal health officials have presented some possible scenarios

The CDC has advised state health officials to use two possible scenarios as a springboard for planning. Both scenarios assume that two doses will be necessary per person with doses being spread between a few weeks.

The first scenario is that the Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use authorization for a vaccine candidate by the end of October. There would likely only be around 2 million doses by the end of October, 10 to 20 million doses by the end of November and 20 to 30 million does by the end of December. In January, it’s likely that the vaccine will widely be available.

The first scenario assumes that the vaccine will need to be stored at around -70 degrees Celsius and must be used or refrozen within 10 days. Thawed doses would have to be used within five days.

The second scenario would be around 1 million doses available by the end of October, 10 million by the end of November and 15 million by the end of December. The vaccine would need to be stored at -20 degrees Celsius and could be refrigerated at regular temperatures for 14 days.

Combined the scenarios assume 3 million doses by the end of October, 20 to 30 million doses by the end of November and 35 to 45 million doses by the end of December.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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