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California creates safety group to review any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:42 PM, Oct 19, 2020

Once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it will face another hurdle before being distributed in California.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday he has created a scientific safety review workgroup who will “independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that received FDA approval for distribution,” according to his office.

The workgroup is part of California’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which was submitted to the CDC on Friday. Every state was asked to submit an initial distribution plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in anticipation of when a vaccine will be widely available.

In an effort to provide more transparency around the process for approving vaccines, the FDA has put information on their website. The Trump Administration's "Operation Warp Speed" has provided a lot of funding to several pharmaceutical companies to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Typically, the time to get a vaccine created and available to the public takes a few years.

California’s scientific safety review workgroup will include “nationally acclaimed California physician scientists with expertise in immunization and public health,” according to Newsom. The members named Monday include doctors and researchers from various universities and health care systems in the state.

The group will review material for any vaccine that “receives federal approval and verify its safety” before the vaccine is made available to “those most at risk.”

There is no word at this time how long this review process could take once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

In a series of tweets about the announcement, Governor Newsom said the vaccine “will not end this epidemic overnight” and encouraged wearing a mask, washing hands and practicing social distancing.