Two San Diego physicians are among 11 state experts tasked with determining the quality of any new coronavirus vaccine administered in the United States.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Task Force on Monday, promoting the panel as an independent body capable of scrutinizing trial results and risk assessments associated with any vaccine approved for release by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Of course we are not taking anyone’s word for it, we will do our own independent review process with our world-class experts who happen to live here in the state of California,” Newsom said.
Chaired by Dr. Arthur Reingold, chief of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics division at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, the group will also include Dr. Rodney Hood, president and founder of the Multicultural Health Foundation, a consortium from healthcare providers serving San Diego County’s most diverse neighborhoods; and Dr. Mark Sawyer, infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital and director of the San Diego Immunization Association.
The task force could soon have something to do with the White House pushing hard for the limited availability of vaccines from two different companies that may arrive in November.
Newsom stressed that as far as he can tell at this point, the maximum number of doses that could be available across the country through the end of the year is about 45 million. However, that number, he noted, is immediately cut in half because two doses per person are required for full protection.
Overall, he said, it appears California would likely receive between 1 and 2 million doses by the end of the year, far less than the number needed for widespread availability. If available, the state would prioritize front-line health care workers, first responders, and those from other high-risk groups, such as those 65 and older and those from the most racial and ethnic groups. affected by the virus.
“Don’t anticipate or expect that you will go to a local pharmacy at any time this year and probably get vaccinated,” Newsom said.
Experts agree, the governor added, that the hundreds of millions of doses needed for a nationwide vaccination campaign large enough to stop the pandemic will not arrive until 2021. Exactly when in 2021, he added, is a question. of open disagreement with the optimists saying the first quarter of the year, the pessimists favoring the third quarter and the pragmatists choosing the second quarter.
In addition to Reingold, Sawyer, and Hood, the task force includes:
- Dr. Tomás Aragón, head of Health for the City and County of San Francisco and director of the Population Health Division of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
- Ambassador Eric Goosby, a distinguished professor of medicine and director of the Center for Global Health Service Delivery, Diplomacy and Economics at the Institute for Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.
- Dr. Nicola P. Klein, Senior Research Scientist in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.
- Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics specializing in infectious diseases at Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
- Yvonne (Bonnie) Maldonado, Ph.D., Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Stanford Department of Pediatrics.
- Dr. Rob Schechter, chief of the immunization branch of the California Department of Public Health.
- Dr. Peter Szilagyi, UCLA pediatric health services and clinical researcher with an overall mission to improve access to health care, quality of care, and health outcomes for children.
- Dr. Matt Zahn, medical director of the Orange County Health Agency’s Division of Epidemiology and Evaluation. He was chair of the National Association of City and County Health Officials’ Immunization Advisory Task Force from 2009 to 2012.