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Lamont, SHU Prepare for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Coronavirus Vaccine Research
Jessica Hill
Coronavirus vaccine approval is expected this weekend.

Governor Ned Lamont says the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could be administered in Connecticut as soon as Tuesday, as the FDA is expected to give emergency approval on Saturday. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart University is training a team of health-care students, faculty and staff and local volunteers to help distribute the vaccine.

Officials anticipate more than 230,000 Connecticut residents would be vaccinated within the first month.

“Very soon over the next three, four, five, days we will be shipping to our hospitals, and there the hospitals would allocate according to need. Probably focusing on the highest risk employees first,” Lamont said.

Lamont said doses would also be going to pharmacies who would conduct vaccination clinics for nursing home staff and residents.

The SHU Medical Reserve Corps is training volunteers to help with distribution. The effort is as part of a specialized force partnered with 15 university-based units nationwide. It will be dispatched to help vaccinate Connecticut’s healthcare first responders.

Dr. Corinne Lee is a Clinical Assistant Professor at SHU’s College of Nursing and co-lead of the Medical Reserve Corps. She said anyone can volunteer to be part of the initiative.

“There’s roles for people to actually do the vaccination and there are roles for the non-medical people to help us with logistics,” Dr. Lee said.

SHU Public Health Professor Sofia Pendley said the training for these volunteers can also be done in response for any type of crisis or emergency.

“We maintain this volunteer base year-round with students, faculty and staff but obviously right now our focus is on supporting covid-19 response,” Pendley said.

The university is also exploring becoming a mass vaccination site.

Sacred Heart University is the licensee of WSHU.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.