It’s reassuring to know that Gov. Ned Lamont's administration has begun the process of planning for the distribution of an anticipated coronavirus vaccine. Lamont has announced the makeup of an advisory group that will recommend a statewide strategy. Members will include state legislators, medical experts, union, business and religious leaders, state officials, academics and others.
While we’re still in the throes of a worldwide pandemic as this difficult year enters the colder seasons, Connecticut is in need of a comprehensive strategy built on input from a variety of stakeholders, including medical experts.
Sadly, that’s just what has too often been lacking at the federal level since the emergency began, early this year. All too much of the federal response has seemed piecemeal and ad-lib. The White House task force would put out guidelines for public behavior during the pandemic, only to see the president ignore or even scorn them.
We can only hope that Uncle Sam will be as prepared as this state will probably be as we enter the next phase, which can only begin when a safe and effective vaccine becomes available, in quantity, to the general public.
Meetings of the advisory group will be open to the public, which is important not just because lives are at stake, but also because neither Connecticut nor the Lamont administration has been very good about operating government as openly as possible.
Asked by an AP reporter what he thinks the functions of the group will be, Lamont responded, “One is just the science of the vaccines. When can we do it safely? How is it effective? How best to do it? How do you allocate? What would be those priorities?”
Good questions all. Advice from Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force who met with Lamont recently, and others, suggests that the state may prioritize older residents with pre-existing conditions, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
Whatever the specifics turn out to be, it’s good that they’ll be discussed openly, subject to criticism and discussion, and it is very good that, come what may, there will at least be a comprehensive plan.