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In-Depth: How close are we to a COVID-19 vaccine? Local health experts explain

Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 06:29:15-04

CLEVELAND — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued his forecast on when a COVID-19 vaccine could be in mass distribution during his Oct. 13 news conference, as the state topped more than 5,000 coronavirus deaths just a day earlier.

“By June or late June they would project we would be in wide-spread distribution," DeWine said.

"We would expect that the first group that would come out would certainly be focused on critical first responders."

"We think that these vaccinations will come in waves and it looks like most of the ones that are being worked on will come in two shots."

"I think one of the main ones being worked on is a three week period between the first shot and the second shot."

Cleveland Clinic doctor working with Operation Warp Speed in finding a vaccine provides the latest information

Dr. Serpil Erzurum with the Cleveland Clinic, Chair of the Lerner Research Institute and part of the team working with the Operation Warp Speed federal initiative to find a vaccine, told News 5 if things go well a preliminary vaccine could be three to four months away.

“We will have vaccines in the new year, I’m sure for healthcare workers and specific populations in the first quarter of the next year," Erzurum said.

“I’m sure that many vaccine strategies available to us, by spring, summer and certainly the fall of next year.”

Dr. Erzurum said she is aware of 44 vaccine candidates that are deep into clinical trials.

Dr. Erzurum outlined four categories of vaccines that are now being explored by her team and Operation Warp Speed during an extended interview with News 5 posted below.

Extended interview with Cleveland Clinic doctor

Dr. Claudia Hoyen, Director of Infection Control at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, is also optimistic a vaccine is just months away.

“I think in terms of finding a vaccine, we’re in a good place," Hoyen said.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we all need to do our part to get us there.”

“There are so many candidates of the vaccine.”

According to an Oct. 2 report from the World Health Organization, more than 170 vaccine candidates are now being monitored by the agency across the globe.

Lake County General Health District already developing a vaccine distribution plan

Ron Graham, Commissioner with Lake County General Health District told News 5 he's confident a safe vaccine will be found, but was hesitant to predict when it would be ready for mass distribution.

Still, Graham and Dr. Sachin Patel, MD are working with a team of people to have Lake County be prepared to have logistics in place to accommodate large scale delivery of a vaccine.

“I think a vaccine will come out, it will be safe, but i just don’t know that I can put any guarantee on the current process," Graham said.

“We talk to Fire Chiefs every week, Mayor’s and Managers and Township Trustees every week, the hospital weekly, so we keep that communication open in identifying vaccination clinic locations and traffic patterns."

"I believe they’ll roll it out in a phased approach, first healthcare workers will be prioritized most likely," Dr. Patel said

"Elderly with preexisting condition will probably be coming after that."