(Salem, OR) — The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup last night 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 this morning, making the Moderna vaccine the second COVID-19 vaccine supported for use in these states. Shipments are 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.
“After thorough scientific review, here is what the doctors and health experts have told us: the Moderna vaccine is safe. It is effective. And, it gives us the ability to reach communities across rural Oregon and the West that don’t have easy access to cold storage,” said Governor 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. And, until vaccines are widely available, we need all Oregonians to do everything we can to protect our families and loved ones from this deadly disease. Wear a mask, avoid gatherings this holiday season, and stay home when you are sick. We will beat this pandemic the same way we have made it through the last ten months: by working together.”
Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom:
“While California is in some of the darkest days of our COVID-19 surge, with too many families grieving lost loved ones, there is light as more vaccines are approved for distribution. With the Moderna vaccine in circulation, we have another tool to fight this deadly disease. I am grateful to the best-in-the-nation scientific experts who lent their time and expertise to ensuring that Californians can have confidence in the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. 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. 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.”
Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:
“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,” 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.”
Statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak:
“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.
“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. Our team is ready to move forward similarly with the Moderna vaccine once our first allocation arrives.
“I want to again thank my fellow Governors for engaging in this work in a truly collaborative effort. Nevadans – and residents throughout the West – should be proud of the review the workgroup has done to help add another layer of confidence in this vaccine.”