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SACRAMENTO – Washington, Oregon and Nevada have joined California's COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution. Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the panel made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health.
"California has led with science and data through the COVID pandemic and when a vaccine becomes available, we will leverage our scientific expertise to verify its safety to give everyone the confidence they need to make important decisions regarding the health of their families," said Governor Newsom. "This virus transcends our borders and we are grateful to partner with our neighboring states though our Scientific Safety Review Workgroup for a healthy and safe path forward for all our communities."
The Governors of Washington, Oregon and Nevada will identify public health experts to join California's workgroup to guide the review of any vaccine approved by the FDA. While there is no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, these top health experts will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety before California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada will make the vaccine available to the public.
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"We believe in science, public health and safety. That is why I am pleased that Washington is joining California and other western states in this effort," said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. "Any COVID vaccine must be guided by the expertise of scientists and medical professionals and that's just what this workgroup will do. The Western States Pact will continue working together to ensure the best health outcomes for everyone in our states."
"The vaccines currently in development, once approved, are what Americans have been waiting for to protect their families, their children, and their loved ones in long-term care facilities," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. "The independent review conducted by this panel of doctors, scientists, and health experts will ensure that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone, especially communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this disease."
"Once again, I am thrilled to work with other states in the Western States Pact to ensure we take care of all our residents by bringing together the best and brightest scientific minds across states borders. We know we are stronger together," said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. "When the time comes, Nevadans will be able to feel confident in the safety of the vaccine knowing that an independent review by experts across the West gave it their seal of approval."
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This is not the first time Western States have collaborated in response to COVID-19. In April, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada joined in a Western States Pact which shared a vision for fighting COVID-19 and reopening their economies. Western State leaders in May urged congressional leaders to approve $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief for states and local governments and are partnering to pilot a project testing new exposure notification technology pioneered by Google and Apple.
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