Baker administration creates COVID-19 vaccine advisory group to oversee coronavirus immunization efforts

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration announced on Wednesday they have created a COVID-19 vaccine advisory group aimed at helping prepare the state distribute a “safe and effective" vaccine once it becomes available.

In efforts to assemble an advisory board that can best assist the state in their vaccine distribution efforts, the group will be comprised of medical professionals, public health experts, elected officials, community leaders and infectious disease specialists.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group will advise Baker’s 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.

According to a news release, the state has been working on preparing and planning for a COVID-19 vaccine since early August. According to Baker’s adminstration, the work being done on planning for the coronavirus vaccine is built upon the state’s existing 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,” the release said.

Under the state’s vaccine registry, the Massachusetts Immunization Information System, the Commonwealth is able to track vaccine orders and inventory. 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 DPH Medical Director Dr. Larry Madoff and DPH Assistant Commissioner Kevin Cranston, the list of members of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group include:

  • Dr. Paul Biddinger, Chair - Mass General Brigham
  • Dr. Barry Bloom - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Vincent Chiang - Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Michael Curry, Esq. - Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
  • Dr. Robert Finberg - University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • State Senator Cindy Friedman - Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • Dr. Marc Lipsitch - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • State Representative Ronald Mariano – House Majority Leader
  • Wanda McClain - Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Dr. Asif Merchant - Mass Medical Society
  • Mayor Daniel Rivera - City of Lawrence
  • 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
  • Dr. Sharon Wright - Beth Israel Lahey Health

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