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California's COVID-19 Vaccine Committee

Smallpox vaccine vials


Governor Newsom announced this week  that California will not distribute a federally approved COVID-19 vaccine without putting it under the state’s scrutiny first. He created a scientific review committee to help with the process.


Dr. Arthur Reingold is the head of the Epidemiology Division at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. And he’s the chair of this new vaccine committee. 

He says the point of the committee is to review the federal vaccine trials and verify the safety of any approved vaccines:

"The members on this committee are volunteering their time, they’re not being paid by the pharmaceutical or vaccine companies."


Reingold says if an independent review makes people feel more comfortable taking the vaccine, then it’ll be time well spent:

"I’m not gonna recommend a vaccine for anyone that I’m personally not willing to take."

This doesn’t mean the state would be conducting its own trials:

"That’s a multi-million dollar many month effort and there’s no discussion of us conducting separate trials."

Just that it’s going to review the data from the national trials once it’s released. 

Reingold says the committee will start its work as soon as it gets the data. He says they’ll act quickly, so Californians aren’t delayed access to a vaccine. 


How the state is going to distribute the vaccine is still being decided. Reingold says, that’s a whole other committee, but the vaccine should be available to anyone who wants it. 

My pronouns are he/him. I’m originally from San Diego, but moved to Santa Cruz for college in 2014, where I studied literature and creative nonfiction at UCSC. In 2018, I moved to Oakland and began to pursue a career in audio-journalism. I’ve worked as a reporter for KPFA for the last year, where I’ve covered a wide range of issues from climate change to prison lawsuits to political candidacies to policing in the bay area. I’m interested in telling stories that demystify systemic inequalities, whether those be gender, race, or class based.