BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Leaders with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want states to have a coronavirus vaccine distribution plan in place by Nov. 1, according to a letter sent to governors on Sept. 2.
“I don’t interpret that to mean there will be a vaccine available by then, but they want to make sure that we’re able to stand up a distribution system in our state by November,” Governor John Bel Edwards said.
Vaccine makers have indicated their products will probably not be ready by early fall, and there is still significant research to complete before the federal government approves any medicine for widespread use.
Dr. Alex Billioux, the state’s top virus expert, said the state’s planning process is complicated because it doesn’t know which vaccine compound to plan for.
For example, some potential vaccines researchers are studying now must stay frozen, while others can be transported at room-temperature. The state will have to plan for each alternative, meaning it will have to identify refrigerated trucks to transport the cold vaccines - even though that cold compound may not be used in Louisiana.
“It’s not one vaccine, but multiple vaccines,” Thursday. “We don’t know which one is going to arrive first or in what order.”
In addition, certain vaccines may not be immediately cleared for widespread use.
“Some vaccines are going to be ready for everybody,” Billioux said. “Some vaccines, because of the way they were studied, may not be appropriate for, say, children, people with auto-immune diseases or immune suppressed conditions.”
Billioux said the state creates a vaccine distribution plan each year, meaning Louisiana has a head start on the federal government’s expectations.
“We’ve got pretty big plans about how you can get it out to different settings, whether it’d be deployed to parish health units, with the help of the national guard, or more classic models where you get it to pharmacies and primary care doctors,” he said.
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