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California Department of Public Health Names Drafting Guidelines Workgroup to Advise State on COVID-19 Vaccines

Workgroup of California experts will develop vaccine prioritization
and allocation guidance

Date: October 27, 2020
Number: NR20-281

SACRAMENTO – Building on Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement last week establishing a Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to advise the state on COVID-19 vaccines, today Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Public Health Officer, named a group of California immunization, geriatrics, ethics, epidemiology, health equity, and pharmacy practice experts to the state's COVID-19 Drafting Guidelines Workgroup. This Workgroup will develop California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance will be based on several national frameworks from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 vaccine supplies are expected to be limited initially.

The Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is part of the state's initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which was submitted to the CDC on October 16. Many vaccine candidates are in clinical trials currently, and California is putting a system in place for a safety review, prioritization, distribution and administration of vaccines as supply becomes available.

"Initial supplies of an approved vaccine will be limited and we know we will need to get them to our state's front-line healthcare workers and others at highest risk, such as the most vulnerable living in nursing homes, first. The Drafting Guidelines Workgroup will help us make difficult decisions and guidelines about vaccine allocation and distribution both early on when the resources are scarce, and later as supplies increase. We want as much informed and broad input as possible to ensure allocation is done in a way that meets the needs of our state and that these choices are made with equity and with full transparency so everyone understands the allocation and distribution decisions," said Dr. Pan.

California's planning process for the eventual distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccine is guided by the overarching principles of ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements; ensuring that the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably, at first to those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19; and transparency, by bringing in community stakeholders from the outset.

The members of the Drafting Guidelines Workgroup named today are:

  • Co-Chairperson Oliver Brooks, MD, CMO, Watts Health Care Corporation and Immediate Past President, NMA (National Medical Association)

  • Co-Chairperson Robert Schechter, MD, MPH, Chief, Immunizations Branch, CDPH

  • Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PHD, Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis and Founding Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis Health

  • Louise Aronson, MD, MFA, Director, Age Self Care Program, UCSF and Clinical Lead, Senior Hub, San Francisco Department of Public Health Covid-19 Response

  • Randy Bergen, MD, Immunization Lead, Kaiser Permanente, Northern California

  • Arleen Brown, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCLA and Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

  • Susan Ducore, MSN, RN, DNP, PHN, Immunization Coordinator, California Indian Health Service

  • Katherine Flores, MD, USCF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research

  • Jeff Goad, PharmD., Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Chapman University

  • Claire Jarashow, PhD, MPH, Director, Vaccine Preventable Disease Control and Chief, Epidemiology and Data, Acute Communicable Disease, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

  • Bernard Lo, MD, Director, Program in Medical Ethics, UCSF, Emeritus and President, The Greenwall Foundation, New York

  • Ngoc-Phuong Luu, MD, Health Officer, Yuba and Sutter Counties

  • Jeff Silvers, MD, Immunization Lead, Sutter Health

  • Melissa Thun, RN, Public Health Nurse Manager, San Diego County

  • Ann Walker, RN, PHN, Immunization Program Coordinator, Kern County Department of Health

  • Mike Witte, MD, CMO, California Primary Care Association

A Community Advisory Vaccine Committee will also provide input and feedback to the planning efforts and solve barriers of equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making.


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