• By The Financial District


As the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California is launching a scientific safety review workgroup in which top health experts will independently review vaccines that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before distribution happens in the state, according to KCRA 3 News.

"This vaccine plan will move at the speed of trust. You have to have confidence in the efficacy of the vaccine, confidence that we’re not rushing to judgement in terms of its distribution and its accessibility," Newsom said during his press briefing.

He noted that in the first phases of a vaccine rollout, there will likely be limited supply.

"We don’t anticipate mass availability until 2021. The question for all of us is: is that in the first quarter, second or third quarter of 2021?" Newsom said.

Californians who fall in high-risk groups, health care workers and first responders will be prioritized for a vaccine.

“While a small number of doses of an FDA-approved vaccine could be deployed before year’s end, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us well into 2021 – and widespread vaccine distribution likely won’t occur for many more months,” Dr. Erica Pan, acting state public health officer, said in a news release.

As of October 19, California had more than 870,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 17,000 deaths related to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The 14-day positvity rate is down to 2.5%, Newsom said.