Rochester Hills mayor in Washington DC to talk distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

The country is potentially days away from a game-changer when it comes to a pandemic vaccine.

Right now in our nation’s capital a handful of elected leaders are getting a play-by-play of how the distribution of two vaccines will work. And southeast Michigan has a seat at the table in Mayor Brian Barnett of Rochester Hills. 

"This is probably the fastest that the vaccine has ever been developed," said Mayor Barnett. "That’s great, but more importantly they are building confidence in the process for the American people.”

He says the goal of this vaccine summit was to show a true collaboration to end the pandemic. 

“Fierce competitors like UPS and Fedex sitting next to one another talking about working together, competitors like Walgreens and CVS working together," Barnett said. "This is a unique collaboration of every sector, run by the military - it’s a military execution.”

Barnett anticipates Operation Warp Speed to deliver as advertised just hours after emergency FDA approval of the vaccines. 

“In one day they want to be out distributing them," he said. "They want shots in the arms of American people for those interested and willing to take it within 96 hours.”

Also on the table is the issue of who will get the shots and when - but Barnett says governors will take the lead there. 

“The White House really stressed that this is going to be a governor-dominated program, that governors know best how to reach the people in their states,” Barnett said.

He was one of five or six mayors from across the US in the room with just a handful of state and federal elected leaders.
He says he got the invite due to a prior working relationship with the White House due to being president of the US Conference of Mayors.

He also says what he witnessed in DC can be applied long after the pandemic is over. 

"To me, it really is a blueprint for some of America’s other problems and challenges we have," he said. "To get these competitive forces together. and the collaboration is unique for a town not known for collaboration.”