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Western states group backs Moderna vaccine

Updated December 22, 2020 - 7:28 pm

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Saturday completed its review of the federal process and has concluded the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious for use in the Western states. The workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington on Sunday morning, making the Moderna vaccine the second COVID-19 vaccine supported for use in these states. Shipments were expected early this week.

Washington, Oregon and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The workgroup, made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccinations. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.

Gov. Steve Sisolak made a statement about the approval: “Once again, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has shown that we work better together, especially during the ongoing pandemic. I am glad to see the state-level review of the recently approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has come to the same conclusion as the FDA: The vaccine is safe and will be a valuable tool toward protecting Nevadans from this deadly virus.”

Sisolak thanked his fellow governors for what he called “a truly collaborative effort.”

“This major step forward is welcome news to all who have experienced loss and hardship during this pandemic — those we hold in our thoughts this holiday season,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Until vaccines are available more widely across the state, it’s critical that all Californians do their part to stop the surge by staying at home and wearing a mask when leaving home for essential work and needs.”

“While disease activity remains high and our ICUs remain near capacity, we are hopeful that the introduction of another COVID vaccine will get us much closer to defeating this virus,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Stepping up vaccinations for health care workers and our highest-risk populations will help save the lives. We must continue to be vigilant and keep up wearing masks, physically distancing and not having gatherings, especially during the upcoming holidays.”

Added Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: “Now, we must do everything we can to distribute vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible, to protect our frontline health care workers, long-term care residents and staff and the communities most at risk from COVID-19.

“The last week has made clear that we also need accurate information from our federal partners about vaccine distribution. With these first vaccinations comes a great sense of hope, but we still have a long road ahead before we’re out of this pandemic.”

Sisolak expressed confidence in Nevada’s ability to implement the vaccination process.

“Nevada’s immunization team has done tremendous work in the last eight months to plan and prepare for this historic distribution process, and the first week of distributing the Pfizer vaccine has gone smoothly,” he said. “Our team is ready to move forward similarly with the Moderna vaccine once our first allocation arrives.”

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