‘Don’t Take Anyone’s Word for It’

Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters Monday that he would not automatically distribute a vaccine for the coronavirus even if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency that is the gatekeeper between drug makers and American consumers.

Like other Democrats, Newsom implied that the Trump administration cannot be trusted to produce a vaccine that is safe and effective.

“A question I often get is: Are you going to take someone’s word for it as it relates to vaccines?” Newsom said. “Of course we don’t take anyone’s word for it.”

“We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts,” Newsom said.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the plan the governor has to override the FDA:

Newsom announced the creation of an 11-member scientific review committee that will be charged with following vaccine candidate trials, scrutinizing the evidence that any vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is safe and effective, and providing a recommendation to the state about whether to administer it to the public.

Members include San Francisco’s health officer, Tomás Aragón, as well as epidemiology experts from UC Berkeley, Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente.

California is one of at least seven states, along with Washington, D.C., that plan to independently review vaccine safety and efficacy, separate from the Food and Drug Administration review process.

The Chronicle reported that President Donald Trump’s timeline for an approved vaccine to come imminently, and maybe even before the election, is “all but dashed.” The news outlet reported that experts said limited amounts of a vaccine could be available in early 2021.

The Chronicle admitted in its report that Newsom’s strategy is more political than scientific.

“It is unlikely the state review panel would find that a vaccine authorized by the FDA is unsafe,” California Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kate Folmar said in a statement, according to the Chronicle. “However, if that does happen, the state would inform residents about the safety hazard and limit the distribution of the vaccine in areas under state control.”

Like other states, California has submitted its plan for vaccine distribution to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including prioritizing the earliest vaccine supplies to be reserved for health care and “essential” workers, people 65 and older, residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and people incarcerated in the state’s prisons.

“It doesn’t matter who the next president is,” Newsom said. “We’re going to maintain our vigilance.”

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