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No COVID Vaccines in California Without State Approval

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — California isn’t going to allow the use of any coronavirus vaccines until its own panel of experts approves them, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

Vaccinations “will move at the speed of trust,” Newsom said, and the state wants its own review regardless of who wins the presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

“Of course, we won’t take anyone’s word for it,” Newsom, a Democrat, said. The governor named 11 doctors and scientists who will review any vaccines approved by the federal government or vaccine developers.

Newsom’s statement may mean that Californians won’t get a vaccine as distribution starts in other states, the AP said.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told the AP that the people on the panel are a renowned group and should be able to make credible decisions fast.

“I wouldn’t interpret this as a delay in distribution. I would interpret this as an effort to make sure that distribution is equitable and timely,” he said. “The people in this group are among the most reputable public health advocates in the state.”

The group includes current and former members of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Klausner noted, so any disagreement with the federal panel “could have substantial impact on that particular vaccine product.”

Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed a similar task force, the AP reported.

The announcement was criticized by Republican state lawmakers.

“Politicizing the efficacy of a vaccine is shameful,” tweeted Sen. Melissa Melendez, who said the governor “used the virus to keep people from working, kids from going to school [and] families from being able to attend funerals,” the AP reported.

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