The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup provided a statement to the governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington confirming the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, Dec. 13.
The Workgroup “(r)ecommends that our states avoid any undue delay in providing access to the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine,” according to their statement following the completion of their “concurrent and thorough” review of the federal vaccine processes.
Members of the Workgroup have held multiple virtual meetings to review the available evidence concerning the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine recently approved by FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
The confirmation was provided just a day before the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the United States.
“Our Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has worked concurrently with the federal process to review and assess available data, and examine the federal review processes regarding the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a release. “This morning, the Workgroup recommended the Pfizer vaccine as safe for public use. With shipments of the vaccine soon on their way to California, we are working hand-in-hand with local public health officials to get the vaccine out to the first phase of recipients. Their work will continue as data becomes available on other potential vaccines.”
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup consists of three members who are members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AIP) as well as members with expertise in medicine, pediatrics, infectious disease, immunology, vaccinology and vaccine safety, epidemiology, public health, equity and biostatistics.
“With recommendations from the FDA, CDC, and, now, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, Oregonians can rest assured that some of the best doctors, scientists, and immunologists in the world have reviewed the data and affirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a release. “We will work as quickly as possible to deliver vaccines to the public, starting with frontline health care workers and those who have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Please keep doing your part to keep your family and loved ones safe—wear a mask, stay home when you are sick, and avoid gatherings. Together, we can do this. Hope is on the way.”
The states Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in late October. Since then, the Workgroup has independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccinations and will continue to evaluate other vaccinations as they go through the federal vaccine process for authorization.
“With these extra measures, Nevadans can feel confident in this vaccine,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a release. “I want to thank all those involved in this process for their hard work, including my fellow Governors. We know we are stronger when we work together, and this process is just another example of the proactive and collaborative efforts of all our teams.”
According to a release from the Office of the Governor, the initial round of doses that will be administered in California will go to essential healthcare workers and more vulnerable people in long-term care settings.