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Berkeley Public Health’s Arthur Reingold named chair of California state COVID-19 vaccine workgroup

Group of acclaimed California physician scientists to review vaccine process for safety

On Tuesday, October 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom named a group of nationally acclaimed California physician scientists with expertise in immunization and public health to the state’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

The group’s chair will be Arthur Reingold, head of Berkeley Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology.

The workgroup will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that receives FDA approval for distribution. While there is no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, these top health experts—guided by the principles of safety, equity and transparency—will review any vaccine that receives federal approval and verify its safety, before California makes a COVID-19 vaccine available to those most at risk.

The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is a key piece of the state’s initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, October 16, 2020. Many vaccine candidates are in clinical trials currently, and California is putting a system in place for the distribution and administration of vaccines as supply becomes available.

“Our response to COVID-19 has and will continue to lead with data and science including when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Governor Newsom in a press release. “California leads in science and by bringing together our state’s brightest scientific minds, we can ensure that any vaccine distributed here meets safety requirements. Recognizing that supplies will be limited initially and the first doses of vaccines must go to health care workers, first responders and others who are especially vulnerable to this disease, we are working to ensure that administration and distribution of an approved vaccine is equitable.”

Members of the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup are:

  • Chairman Dr. Arthur L. Reingold, the division head of Epidemiology at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
  • Dr. Tomás Aragón, the health officer of City & County of San Francisco
  • Ambassador Eric Goosby, distinguished professor of medicine and director of the Center for Global Health Delivery, Diplomacy and Economics, Institute for Global Health Sciences, UCSF
  • Dr. Rodney Hood, the president and founder of the Multicultural Health Foundation.
  • Dr. Nicola P. Klein, a senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center.
  • Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics specializing in infectious diseases at the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
  • Dr. Yvonne (Bonnie) Maldonado, a professor and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics at Stanford Medicine.
  • Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital and a professor of clinical pediatrics at UC San Diego and the medical director of the UC San Diego San Diego Immunization Partnership.
  • Dr. Rob Schechter, chief of California Department of Public Health’s Immunization Branch.
  • Dr. Peter Szilagyi, pediatric health services and clinical researcher at UCLA.
  • Dr. Matt Zahn, the medical director of the Division of Epidemiology and Assessment for the Orange County Health Care Agency.