Recently appointed Ga. COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force leader details strategy, partnerships for distribution

Recently appointed Ga. COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force leader details strategy, partnerships for distribution

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently announced Georgia Insurance and Safety Commissioner John F. King will be the head of the task force working on distributing a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s ready.

Commissioner King will be relying not only on his military experience for his newest role, but also on what he’s learned traveling the country working with others to set up remote COVID treatment sites.

One thing the new COVID vaccine distribution task force will be tasked with initially will be pairing up with private companies to find viable storage for the vaccine once one arrives.

“The vaccine looks like it’s going to have some refrigeration requirements. So the private enterprise does this very well, and we ought to take advantage. And our partners in private enterprise, not only in the discussions with Governor Kemp, but also discussions with me have all come online to say, hey, whatever you guys need, we want to serve Georgians," King said.

Commissioner King said right now they’re looking at what state and local requirements will be to establish a distribution network, including storage.

“CDC has come out with some general guidelines. We know that initially we’ll have a limited number of doses available. So we have to make sure that we go to those vulnerable populations that we can get the fastest return on that investment," explained King.

Commissioner King pointed to at-risk groups like the elderly and those in assisted living facilities, as well as medical staff as those likely prioritized.

We also asked Commissioner King his thoughts on vaccine developer AstraZeneca halting their study this week because of a reported unexplained illness in the trial.

“That’s what we expect medical companies to be doing in their trials. That’s what a trial is for. So I’m not concerned. I feel that they’re doing what a responsible company doing incredibly important research that benefits our nation, benefits the world, are doing," King said.

As for a timeline of when the vaccine could be available in Georgia, Commissioner King didn’t speculate. But he said when it’s ready, the task force will be ready.

“Georgia will be ready to take the initial doses and there will not be a delay. That’s what I’m committed to.”

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