Western states join review pact on COVID-19 vaccine


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that Washington is among a handful of Western states that have joined a pact to independently review the safety and efficacy of any coronavirus vaccine that is ultimately approved by the FDA before any distribution occurs in those states.

Last week, California was the first to announce such a plan, and Gov. Gavin Newsom said the independent review would happen regardless of who wins next week’s presidential election.

Oregon and Nevada are also part of the work group announced Tuesday.

Inslee stressed that the public health experts in the group will concurrently be reviewing publicly released data before FDA approval of a vaccine, and that any decision by the group should come within days after federal approval.

During a Thursday press conference, Inslee said he is proud of Washingtonians for helping stop the spread of COVID-19 but encouraged them to do even more.

“We have saved thousands of lives in Washington already. We have the ability to save even more lives even before the vaccine,” Inslee said.

Inslee said 45 states have more infection rates than Washington.

“We’re masking up, we’re social distancing. As a result we’re having relative success, and we feel the pain of other states that have so much more activity than we do,” he said.

“We’ve turned the dial significantly…but we need to keep being careful, keep wearing masks, limit our interactions with others.”

He encouraged people to wear masks in private social settings in addition to wearing them in public.

It was announced on Monday that nine Clark County school districts are moving forward with bringing small groups of kindergarten students back to school in the next few weeks.

The school districts are: Vancouver, Washougal, Ridgefield, La Center, Hockinson, Green Mountain, Evergreen, Camas, and Battle Ground.

Last week, Washington state passed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Inslee also announced new restrictions for college campuses last week.

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