California Announces Independent Study for Coronavirus Vaccine

Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool, File

Governor Gavin Newsom announced California’s own COVID-19 vaccine review process before a vaccine is distributed in California during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“A group of nationally acclaimed California physician scientists with expertise in immunization and public health to the state’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup that will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that receives FDA approval for distribution. While there is no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, these top health experts – guided by the principles of safety, equity and transparency – will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety, before California makes a COVID-19 vaccine available to those most at risk.”

“[Our COVID-19] vaccine will move at the speed of trust,” said Newsom.

The office of the governor reported the COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety before California distributes it.

“Our response to COVID-19 has and will continue to lead with data and science including when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Governor Newsom in a press release. “California leads in science and by bringing together our state’s brightest scientific minds, we can ensure that any vaccine distributed here meets safety requirements. Recognizing that supplies will be limited initially and the first doses of vaccines must go to health care workers, first responders and others who are especially vulnerable to this disease, we are working to ensure that administration and distribution of an approved vaccine is equitable.”

“While a small number of doses of an FDA-approved vaccine could be deployed before year’s end, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us well into 2021 – and widespread vaccine distribution likely won’t occur for many more months,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer. “Across the country, states are seeing increases in COVID-19 transmission, but thanks to Californians’ adherence to our public health guidance and our slow and stringent reopening, that hasn’t happened yet here in California. Let’s keep it up – wear a mask, keep physical distance, limit contact outside your household and wash your hands.”

Newsom agreed explaining, “When we talk about vaccinations don’t anticipate or expect that you can go down to the local pharmacy any time in this calendar year and likely get a vaccination. We hope that’s the case but based on all the evidence, all of the data…it is simply unrealistic.”

According to the governor, the first doses will be reserved for a limited number of people. Mass vaccines won’t be widely available until the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd quarter of 2021.

“A vaccine will not end this epidemic overnight. It’s absolutely essential that we maintain our vigilance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing.” Newsom tweeted.

Watch Governor Newsom’s full press conference here.

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