Ensuring the rapid development, distribution, and widespread public uptake of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be a critical element in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and resuming normal economic, educational, and social activities. As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for public use, federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local governments and partners must work collaboratively to ensure that vaccines are distributed in a manner that protects public health and safeguards those at highest risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
To assist governors and state leaders in leading ongoing vaccine planning efforts, the National Governors Association, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, and COVID Collaborative have partnered to release a new report analyzing all publicly available state and territorial COVID-19 vaccination plans, with the aim identifying key issues and sharing promising practices across the country. The paper highlights strategies and critical issues confronting states as they prepare to distribute FDA-approved vaccines, including equity, data infrastructure, effective public communication strategies, and determinations for allocation to critical populations and phasing of vaccine delivery across population groups.
The report notes that federal funding is needed to conduct key activities including building data systems, supporting mass vaccination clinics, meeting cold-chain requirements, procuring supplies, and hiring additional workforce, among other needs. To date, states have received $200 million from the federal government that is specifically allocated for COVID-19 vaccination, with an additional $140 million forthcoming. In addition to funding, states are also awaiting critical federal guidance and support for addressing challenges related to data reporting, provider enrollment and training, vaccine storage and management and communications.