Monday, 17 August 2020 22:11

FL Selected to Participate in Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program

Written by John Haughey, The Center Square


Floridians will be among participants in a pilot program the Trump administration is launching to not only test a potential COVID-19 vaccine but also how it would be distributed.

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees revealed Florida will join Minnesota, California, North Dakota and the city of Philadelphia in the pilot program.


Rivkees said he had few details, but he told hospital officials during a conference call details “will be coming as vaccines become available.”


Congressional Quarterly Roll Call on Aug. 10 first reported the pilot program---the first step in the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021.


The plan, which is not yet public, was confirmed by the four state health departments tabbed to participate in the pilot program.


The Florida Department of Health (DOH) also offered scant details, with a spokesman telling Congressional Quarterly it plans “to meet with representatives from the CDC to establish the details, however, an agenda for that meeting has not been created at this time."


According to Congressional Quarterly, officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pentagon and White House COVID-19 Task Force plan to conduct site visits to the four states and Philadelphia during the vaccine trials to develop “model approaches” for other states based in distributing a vaccine once one is approved.


Scientists around the world are racing to develop vaccines to slow COVID-19’s spread. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Aug. 11 the approval of a vaccine, which would be the first specifically crafted for the coronavirus.


Putin’s announcement has been meet with near-global skepticism.


Public health experts estimate at least 70% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity” and have been lobbying for a national strategy to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

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