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Western Immunization Coalitions Support the Western Safety Review Workgroup

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Recently the Western States of Nevada, Oregon, and Washington announced their decision to join California’s Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to independently review and ensure the safety of an FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine. This workgroup is comprised of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunizations and public health, and we applaud this effort to work collaboratively across the Western region.

As immunization coalitions, we value collaboration and understand the importance of engaging our local and state public health experts in this independent review. We also know that working together can help amplify each of our state’s efforts, and help us all ensure a COVID-19 vaccine is distributed equitably and according to our state’s playbook.

The distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine will be a monumental undertaking, and we are prepared to work with our local, state and regional partners to help execute our state plans. Our coalitions are all committed to ensuring equitable and timely access to this eagerly awaited vaccine.

While we will rely on CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) to provide guidance on distribution and use of potential COVID-19 vaccine, transparency is critical to foster public confidence and maximize vaccine use. This state-level review will provide an additional opportunity to communicate with residents about the safety and effectiveness data.

This may be the greatest public health operation of our lifetime, and partnerships between public health, healthcare providers, community organizations, and the public are critical. The networks already in place with our coalitions is of immense value to each of our communities, and we also look forward to working together to ensure the best outcomes for everyone.

Catherine Flores Martin                                                                                   
Executive Director, California Immunization Coalition         

Heidi Parker, MA         
Executive Director, Immunize Nevada

Neil Kaneshiro, MD
Chair, Immunization Action Coalition of Washington   

José Villalobos, MPA
Director of Programs, WithinReach

R. Bryan Goodin, MPH, RN
Chair, Immunize Oregon