Baker names 17-member coronavirus vaccine advisory group

A 17-member group of doctors, public health experts, lawmakers and community activists will guide Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration on how to distribute a coronavirus vaccine — once one is available — equitably, safely and efficiently.

There are currently 11 vaccine candidates in the last phase of clinical trials testing for safety and efficacy, according to the New York Times vaccine tracker. Massachusetts’ own Moderna is currently conducting some of its trials at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Moderna and Pfizer are leading the pack, most likely to cross the finish line to a viable vaccine first, experts have said.

The advisory group held its first meeting last week and the governor’s office said its work will build on vaccine planning that has been underway since August.

Members are working closely with leaders from the Department of Public Health and adding to the commonwealth’s state-of-the-art Massachusetts Immunization Information System, which serves as the state’s vaccine registry, ordering and inventory mechanism. More than 3,000 provider sites currently report their data to this system. The DPH is adding 1,000 clinical sites to track the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the governor’s office.

Members of the advisory committee include:

  • Dr. Paul Biddinger, chair of Mass General Brigham
  • Dr. Barry Bloom of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Dr. Vincent Chiang of Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Michael Curry of Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
  • Dr. Robert Finberg of University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Sen. Cindy Friedman, chairperson of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • Dr. Marc Lipsitch of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Rep. Ronald Mariano, House majority leader
  • Wanda McClain of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Dr. Asif Merchant of Mass Medical Society
  • Mayor Daniel Rivera of Lawrence
  • Dr. John Rocchio of CVS Health
  • Dr. David Twitchell of Boston Medical Center
  • Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church
  • Phoebe Walker of Franklin Regional Council of Governments
  • Dr. Simone Wildes of South Shore Hospital
  • Dr. Sharon Wright of Beth Israel Lahey Health

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