‘It has been something on everyone’s mind’: A public health planner on preparations, challenges in COVID vaccine rollout

The race is on to create a COVID-19 vaccine — and when one is finally available, local health officials will be on the front lines of a long chain of logistical challenges as they work to protect the public.

Christopher M. Goshea, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planner for Hampden County, says a main concern involves the preparations needed to immunize local populations against the virus once vaccines are approved for distribution.

The National Governors Association has issued a memo advising governors on how to prepare for immunization against COVID-19 on a mass scale. Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, who noted the state through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health distributes about 3.2 million vaccine doses every year, said the DPH “has had an internal working group to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place” when a vaccine is ready for distribution.

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