Hartford HealthCare representative: General public to have access to COVID vaccines by May or June

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer of Hartford HealthCare.
Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer of Hartford HealthCare.

NORTHWEST CORNER — The general public will be able to access COVID vaccines by May or June, according to Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer of Hartford HealthCare.
Kumar was one of the speakers at Hartford HealthCare’s weekly COVID response briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington is an affiliate of Hartford HealthCare.
As of Dec. 1, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer have applied for emergency approval with the Food and Drug Administration.
“When the vaccine is approved, we expect that it will be shipped to local state holding sites,” Kumar said. “Very soon after that, we expect it to be at Hartford Hospital and other areas. We expect that the vaccine will be available from Dec. 10 to Dec. 15 for utilization. We are preparing to deploy the vaccines at more than 104 sites.”
Kumar said that Hartford HealthCare is currently developing a vaccination process and that frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and nursing home residents would be the ones to receive COVID vaccinations in the first phase of distribution.
What Kumar said goes along with the recommendation made by a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) panel a few hours after the HartfordHealthcare briefing.
“The second phase would be for the public,” he said. “Forty million doses will be made at the end of December. By May or June, we should have enough for all Americans who require it. That’s a very aggressive schedule. When it comes to when normalcy will return to our lives, it won’t be at least until that time.”
Kumar said that getting back to normalcy in people’s lives depends on the acceptance of the vaccine by the general public.
Kumar said that there are currently 1,100 patients currently hospitalized due to COVID, including 23 patients at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington.

Also see previous story: COVID-19 vaccines may be available locally by mid-December.