COVID-19 vaccine advisory group member: ‘We need to be ready’

BOSTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Thursday that the U.S. could have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every American as early as March 2021.

State leaders in Massachusetts have been preparing for every possible scenario on a timeline at the local level.

On Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced the formation of a 17-member COVID-19 vaccine advisory group to help advise the state moving forward.

The group isn’t just comprised of medical professionals, infectious disease experts and community leaders.

There are also two legislators on the committee who are looking into any state laws or regulations that could potentially stand in the way of an effective rollout in Massachusetts.

“I will be focused on anything that may be a barrier statutorily or through regulations that may prevent an efficient and effective rollout,” said Massachusetts State Sen. Cindy Friedman, who’s one of the 17 members. “If there’s any work we have to do that the legislature can support, we’re here to do that.”

Friedman told Boston 25 News that the group’s first meeting on Wednesday night lasted about an hour and a half and covered a range of topics.

“If you get a vaccine, how do you store it? Where do you put it? How do you make it available where the populations are?” said Friedman. “We need to get this work done now. We need to be ready.”

Friedman believes having this diverse and distinguished team critically examining the situation in Massachusetts will ensure the state is as prepared as it can be.

“The fact that we have our health care providers and experts in on this... I will be very trustful of what they say,” said Friedman. “I think it’s very critical and very good for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

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