KEY POINTS

  • California has joined Washington, Oregon and Nevada in requiring independent review for any COVID-19 vaccine results
  • They say the process will not delay delivery of any vaccine, simply verify the findings of clinical trials
  • The federal government has lost trust after their pandemic response and repeated interference at federal health agencies

California has joined an alliance of Western states pledging to independently review any COVID-19 vaccine before distribution.

Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed that they would not delay distribution or require additional trials, the New York Times reports. California joins Washington, Oregon and Nevada in requiring additional review for COVID-19 vaccines.

 Suspicion of the federal government has risen after the federal pandemic response and repeated interference by Donald Trump in government health and medicine agencies. Concern over the safety of a potential vaccine grew after Trump made it clear he wanted to rush one out before the Nov. 3 election, clashing with the FDA over safety guidelines.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote in a statement: “We believe in science, public health and safety. That is why I am pleased that Washington is joining California and other western states in this effort.”

The doubts were significant enough to come up in the presidential debates, with Joe Biden saying he would “trust scientists,” but Trump’s word alone wouldn’t be enough to make him take a vaccine. 

States along the West coast have banded together before: When it became clear the federal government wouldn’t be coordinating a virus response, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado formed the Western States Pact to coordinate with each other. 

Now all but Colorado have banded together again to review vaccines. Gov. Newsom said that any findings would be double-checked by a panel of experts as rapidly as possible. New York will also be independently reviewing vaccines before distribution. 

“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At least two separate COVID-19 vaccines are hoping to finish phase three clinical trials in November and win FDA approval for distribution in December. Russia, which has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, has already approved two vaccines for production and distribution without completing phase three clinical trials. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 candidate vaccines in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced "phase 3" stage The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 candidate vaccines in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced "phase 3" stage Photo: AFP / Ludovic MARIN