(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)

Newsom says California will review FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines before releasing to public

By Taryn Luna

Los Angeles Times

California will review the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines that receive federal approval before distributing them to the public, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The governor announced the creation of a new workgroup of physicians and scientists working with the California Department of Public Health that will “independently review” all federal Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines, he said.

“Of course, we don’t take anyone’s word for it,” Newsom said at a news conference on Monday. “We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts that just happen to live here in the state of California.”

Vaccines, like many other aspects of the nation’s response to the pandemic, have become increasingly politicized. Newsom’s insistence on a state review of any vaccines approved by the federal government comes amid concerns about whether the Trump administration will attempt to rush the approval process.

Newsom’s announcement also raised new uncertainty about coronavirus vaccines just days Dr. Anthony Fauci said he felt “strong confidence” in the safety of those approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS Evening News that he expects to know in November or December if some potential COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

He said that if all six vaccine candidates currently undergoing clinical trials are proven to be safe and effective, they could be widely available by next April.

But the governor on Monday said mid-2021 is a realistic projection for when a vaccine would be distributed to the public. Newsom acknowledged the “political polarization” around vaccines and said the state needs to monitor the safety, distribution and health effects.

“So, no matter who the next president is, we’re going to maintain our vigilance,” Newsom said. “We are going to do what California is well known to do and that is to make sure that we have a redundancy and that we maintain our vigilance to have a second set of eyes on the things that are being asserted and the information that’s being provided.”

State public health officials last spring started having early discussions about how vaccines and therapeutic medicines to treat people with the virus would be distributed in California once developed and approved.

Among the priorities would be to provide the vaccines to people considered most at risk from the virus, along with ensuring equitable distribution to people across the state, regardless of income or geography. In May, a top Newsom administration official said that this sort of planning is done whenever a new vaccine or medicine in great need to protect the public health is developed.

Those efforts came together in an 84-page draft proposal of a plan to distribute and administer vaccines that the California Department of Public Health submitted last week to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The broad outline, dated Friday, includes goals to prioritize vaccines while doses are limited for healthcare personnel at risk of contracting the virus, those at risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 and essential workers. When vaccines become more widely available, the population of eligible recipients will grow to non-essential workers and the general public.

As states begin formalizing plans for vaccine distribution, governors are also calling for the federal government to provide more detailed guidelines and oversight.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo published a list of questions about vaccine distribution on Sunday that he said the National Governors Association sent to the Trump administration.

The association, which includes Republican and Democratic governors, asked the federal government about federal funding, insurance coverage, prioritization, monitoring health effects and other critical issues related to the distribution and implementation of future vaccines.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Phil Willon contributed to this report.

Bay Area NewsCaliforniaCoronavirusPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott leaves the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Brannan Street and Jack London Alley in the South Park area on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chief Scott issues rare apology to man shot by SF police

Officer says he ‘did not intend for his firearm to go off’

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Most Read