California plans to review coronavirus vaccine independently
California is planning to review federally approved coronavirus vaccines independently before distributing it to residents, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Monday.
Newsom said during a press conference that the state will establish an 11-person panel of experts in areas like epidemiology and biostatistics to review any vaccine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves before its allocation.
“The question I often get is ‘are you going to take someone’s word for it?’ Of course, we don’t take anyone’s ‘word for it,’” Newsom said. “We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts.”
“These experts … will independently review and monitor any vaccine trials to guarantee safety, to guarantee equity and to guarantee the transparency of the distribution of our vaccines,” he added.
California’s expert panel called the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will review vaccines no matter who wins the presidential election, the governor said.
The governor’s announcement comes as reports have circulated suggesting the FDA may be enduring political interference as President Trump’s administration has pushed for a vaccine as soon as possible with Operation Warp Speed. The federal agency has promised not to forgo safety for speed.
Newsom emphasized that experts predict a vaccine will be available to California residents sometime next year. When the vaccine does reach the Golden State, priority will be given to health care workers and first responders.
California follows New York, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said last month his state would independently review FDA-approved vaccines.
Newsom said the federal government predicts more than 45 million vaccines could become available initially, permitting 1 million to 1.5 million California residents to be vaccinated.