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Baker Forms Coronavirus Vaccine Advisory Group To Prepare For Massachusetts Distribution

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's administration announced the formation of an advisory group Wednesday to help the state prepare to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one becomes available.

The group includes medical professionals, public health experts, elected officials, community leaders and infectious disease specialists.

The group's main task will be to advise the administration — including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the COVID-19 Command Center — on communication, distribution, and equity issues relating to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The state has actively been working on planning for a COVID-19 vaccine since early August, according to a press release from the administration.

The work of the advisory group builds on the state's experience in distributing approximately 3 million vaccine doses each year and will help strengthen efforts to equitably allocate, distribute and administer a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The Department of Public Health is currently adding another 1,000 clinical sites to 3,000 sites already on the state's vaccine registry to help streamline the distribution and tracking of the vaccine.

The FDA this week announced new vaccine guidance that would push approval past Election Day, while President Donald Trump has claimed a vaccine for the public is imminent. Baker has said it's "incredibly important" for trials to run their course before a vaccine is distributed to the public.

Below is a list of the advisory group members and their place of work:

Dr. Paul Biddinger, Chair - Mass General Brigham

Dr. Barry Bloom - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Vincent Chiang - Boston Children's Hospital

Michael Curry, Esq. - Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

Dr. Robert Finberg - University of Massachusetts Medical School

State Senator Cindy Friedman - Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

Dr. Marc Lipsitch - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

State Representative Ronald Mariano – House Majority Leader

Wanda McClain - Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Asif Merchant - Mass Medical Society

Mayor Daniel Rivera - City of Lawrence

Dr. John Rocchio - CVS Health

Dr. David Twitchell - Boston Medical Center

Rev. Liz Walker - Roxbury Presbyterian Church

Phoebe Walker - Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Dr. Simone Wildes - South Shore Hospital

Dr. Sharon Wright - Beth Israel Lahey Health

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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