Lamont orders CT agencies to be ready to distribute COVID vaccine - New Haven Register

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The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in Connecticut as early as Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said Sunday.

It will initially be distributed to health care institutions and long-term care facilities, Lamont said, reconfirming what had previously been announced.

Lamont said he ordered the state Department of Public Health to “make all necessary preparations” for the vaccine to be received as early as Monday, distributed, and allocated shortly thereafter to healthcare institutions and long-term care facilities, after he reviewed and accepted the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group Science Subcommittee subcommittee recommendations.

“This is a significant moment for our state and our country,” Lamont said in a statement. “Here in Connecticut, we are incredibly proud to be able to say that the Pfizer team in Groton helped to develop this first vaccine to fight the coronavirus which we know will help to get our communities back to normal.”

Lamont said he also was following recommendations from the subcommittee, which urged him to start the state’s vaccine distribution “at the earliest opportunity.”

A vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech, developed in Groton, was approved through an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration Friday night. The approval makes the vaccine the first allowed to be widely distributed across the U.S. after it had already been put into use in the UK and Canada.

Connecticut placed its first order for 31,200 vaccines on Dec. 4, according to Lamont. Long-term care facilities across Connecticut have agreements with either Walgreens or CVS for vaccine administration; distribution is expected to begin Monday, Dec. 21.

Lamont’s office has said it expects more doses to continue arriving in the following weeks for at least 225,775 people to receive both their first and second doses by the end of January.

Connecticut placed its first order for 31,200 vaccines on Friday, December 4, and the state anticipates delivery to hospitals starting as soon as Monday, December 14. Long-term care facilities across Connecticut have agreements with either Walgreens or CVS for vaccine administration, and distribution .

Lamont said Sunday that the EUA, “combined with this recommendation from our Science Subcommittee, with some of the best scientific and analytical minds in our state, will provide light at the end of the tunnel for our state to emerge from the pandemic.”

“I take these recommendations seriously, and I thank everyone involved with our advisory group for their hard work and dedication to this important cause,” he said.

As of Friday, Connecticut had 146,761 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 1,210 patients currently hospitalized with the virus. A total of 5,363 deaths in the state have been attributed to COVID-19, according to the state’s data tracker.

“We found that the process of developing, reviewing, and authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was rigorous, transparent, and scientifically sound,” the co-chairmen of the Science Subcommittee, Jason Schwartz from Yale and Dr. David Banach, wrote in their recommendations to the governor. “The subcommittee has full confidence in the integrity of the FDA review and authorization process for this vaccine and the quality of the work performed by FDA scientists, reviewers, and advisory committee members.”

The co-chairs of the advisory group, Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford and Trinity Health President Dr. Reginald Eadie, said of the recommendation, “During a trying year for our state, this recommendation is an important step toward our community having the ability to fight COVID-19 and return our society and institutions to normal.

“This was a rigorous, time-intensive process meant to understand the science behind the development of the vaccine, and provide confidence to Connecticut residents that our entire advisory group was working to make the best recommendations in the interests of public health,” the joint statement said.

Hospitals will vaccinate their own workers, while CVS and Walgreens will vaccinate those living in long-term care facilities.

Reprting by Dan Brechlin is included in this story.

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