HCN News & Notes

Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group to advance its efforts to prepare to distribute a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.

Comprised of medical professionals, public-health experts, elected officials, community leaders, and infectious-disease specialists, the group will advise the administration, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center, on communication, distribution, and equity issues relating to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Commonwealth has actively been working on preparedness and planning for a COVID-19 vaccine since early August. This work builds on and enhances the state’s experience in distributing approximately 3 million vaccine doses each year. The group will help inform the planning and preparedness work already underway and further strengthen efforts to successfully and equitably allocate, distribute, and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Over the past decade, the Commonwealth has invested in the state-of-the-art Massachusetts Immunization Information System, which serves as the state’s vaccine registry, ordering system, and inventory mechanism. More than 3,000 provider sites currently report their data to this system, and DPH is actively onboarding an additional 1,000 clinical sites to further enhance the distribution and tracking of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Working closely with DPH leaders, particularly Medical Director Dr. Larry Madoff and Assistant Commissioner Kevin Cranston, members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group include Dr. Paul Biddinger, Mass General Brigham; Dr. Barry Bloom, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Dr. Vincent Chiang, Boston Children’s Hospital; Michael Curry, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers; Dr. Robert Finberg, UMass Medical School; state Sen. Cindy Friedman, chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing; Dr. Marc Lipsitch, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; state Rep. Ronald Mariano, House majority leader; Wanda McClain, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Asif Merchant, Massachusetts Medical Society; Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera; Dr. John Rocchio, CVS Health; Dr. David Twitchell, Boston Medical Center; Rev. Liz Walker, Roxbury Presbyterian Church; Phoebe Walker, Franklin Regional Council of Governments; Dr. Simone Wildes, South Shore Hospital; and Dr. Sharon Wright, Beth Israel Lahey Health.