CT Coronavirus Vaccine, Lamont Has No Intention To Mandate It

Rich Kirby
·2 min read

CONNECTICUT — Although the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the state has doubled in just the past few weeks, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday he remained "focused on the good news" of a vaccine.

Pfizer announced Monday their coronavirus vaccine was 90 percent effective in stage 3 trials, putting them on target to seek emergency approval from the federal government by the end of November.

Calling it the "largest vaccination effort in the history of the world," Lamont said he nevertheless had no intentions for the state to require residents to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

"By far the best way to get this is on a voluntary basis," the governor said.

Lamont said he was concerned that people might let their guard down, now that they know the country is a few steps closer to rolling out the coronavirus vaccine.

The state has lined up local scientific, religious, labor and legislative leaders to dispel an anticipated spread of disinformation about the vaccine, Lamont said.

John Burkhardt, the company's senior vice president of Global Drug Safety Research & Development at their site in Groton, joined Lamont at the news conference Monday afternoon.

Burkardt said that "no corners were cut" in the development of the vaccine. "We have a tried and true methodology."

There has been "a great volunteerism" nationwide, which allowed the trials to accelerate. "We were quickly able to recruit a high number of patients," Burkhardt said.

A large manufacturing component of the process, which normally is not triggered until after FDA approval of a drug, was done in parallel with research and development. Those simultaneous efforts — at "great risk" to the company — also account for the speedy time-to-market for the new vaccine, Burkhardt said. He also dispelled any suspicion that the news of the successful trials was withheld until after the 2020 presidential election.

Burkhardt said he did not know yet for how long the drug would be effective, once administered. The vaccine will require two doses to load.

Among the challenges facing the roll-out is the requirement the drug be stored at extremely low temperatures.

Reginald Eadie, CEO of Trinity Health of New England and co-chair of Lamont's Vaccine Advisory Gorup, is responsible for those distribution logistics. He said Monday the state is partnering with hospitals, health care systems and local health departments to find out who had the available sub-zero storage.

"Once the vaccine lands — and it sounds like we're going to have it in the very near future — we will be prepared to appropriately allocate the vaccine to the citizens of the State of Connecticut," Eadie said.

COVID-19 has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, including almost a quarter-million in the United States, and 4,698 in Connecticut since the start of the pandemic this past spring.

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch