Western states form scientific panel to review coronavirus vaccine

California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada announced on Tuesday that they are working together as part of a COVID-19 "Scientific Safety" review workgroup, where their own scientists will independently review any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week unveiled a panel comprised of researchers from the state's public universities and Stanford University, and now, the governors of the other Western states said they will identify their own public health experts to join the team, as well. 

“We believe in science, public health and safety,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement. “Any COVID vaccine must be guided by the expertise of scientists and medical professionals and that’s just what this workgroup will do. The Western States Pact will continue working together to ensure the best health outcomes for everyone in our states.” 

The Western states vaccine review team comes after President Donald Trump, who has since recovered from coronavirus, promised a vaccine by the end of the year. 

"We are delivering lifesaving therapies," Trump said earlier this month. "And we'll produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner."

The earliest vaccines, being developed by Moderna and Pfizer, might be available as early as November and December, but they will only be available for first responders and high-risk groups including those in custody, people of color and those in rural communities. 

This is not the first time Western States have collaborated in response to COVID-19.

In April, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada joined in a Western States Pact to figure out how to fight the virus and reopen their economies. 

And in May, the Western states urged congressional leaders to approve $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief for states and local governments and are partnering to pilot a project testing new exposure notification technology pioneered by Google and Apple.