BOSTON (CBS/AP) – People are staying hopeful and optimistic as AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer all report their Covid-19 vaccines are “highly effective” in late trials.
“I think it’s very encouraging,” said Hashim Mann.
“I think it’s great news. I think with the vaccine around the corner hopefully we can get back to normal,” said Forest Shaw.
Preparations are already underway to distribute vaccines once approved by the FDA. Rhode Island is one of four states working directly with Pfizer as part of a distribution pilot program. The state and the drug maker are mapping best practices for ordering the vaccine, receiving it, storing it and distributing it.
“So it doesn’t necessarily mean there is going to be vaccine in Rhode Island any earlier, but what it does mean is that when vaccine is available we’ll be able to hit the ground running,” said Rhode Island Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken.
In Massachusetts, the Baker Administration says once a vaccine is approved by the feds the state will be prepared to distribute it through a phased approach.
“There is an existing infrastructure that’s already in place that generally speaking you know understands most of the elements associated with the distribution and inoculation process that’s associated with vaccines,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
The vaccine will likely be targeted first at high-risk groups, which could include health care workers, long-term care workers, people with preexisting conditions and people in hard-hit communities, Baker said. The details are still being worked out.
“There’s a lot of discussion about where the original focus of vaccine distribution should be,” Baker said. “I would say still hasn’t been fully decided yet.”
Baker said the state has been communicating directly with federal officials about what it needs to do to make sure the distribution goes as smoothly as possible. He declined to say exactly how many vaccines the state will be receiving and when.
“I don’t want to put a number out there yet, because those are still being discussed, but I think the idea is to have a fairly significant amount of vaccines start to be available early in 2021, with that amount growing sort of over the course of the first five or six months of the calendar year,” Baker said.
Private organizations are also preparing for to distribute a vaccine. The Woods at Merrimack a Retirement Community in Methuen is part of a CDC program partnering long term care facilities with pharmacies. It will allow residents at the facility to get a vaccine for free right on-site.
“So now it’s really just a matter of when I think and everybody is I think a lot more optimistic going into the holidays and the new year thinking that it’s coming and not wondering if it is coming. It’s just a matter of when,” said The Woods at Merrimack Executive Director Richard Govoni.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)