California Won’t Allow Virus Vaccines Without State Approval
KPBS Midday Edition Segments / October 22, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom says California won’t allow any distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the state until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts. The pledge raises the possibility that California residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states.
Speaker 1: 00:00 A COVID vaccine developed by Pfizer pharmaceutical and the German company Ontech is in late stage testing. If the vaccine is approved by the U S food and drug administration, Pfizer says the vaccine could be ready for distribution by late November, but that is only the beginning of the effort that lies ahead to provide a safe, effective and trusted vaccine to the public. This week. Governor Gavin Newsome announced that before any vaccine is distributed in California, a statewide panel of experts will review its safety to San Diego. Physicians are among the 11 member panel, which will also determine how a vaccine is rolled out in California. It will take place. Newsome said at the speed of trust journey may is one of the San Diego doctors on the state vaccine safety panel. Dr. Rodney hood is president and founder of the multicultural health foundation, a consortium of health providers serving San Diego county's most diverse neighborhoods and dr. Hood, thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2: 01:05 Thank you for inviting me. What
Speaker 1: 01:07 Do you understand as the mission of California's vaccine review panel?
Speaker 2: 01:12 Well, the mission really is to, uh, render independent opinion of any vaccine that's, uh, recommended by the FDA. And the purpose for that is that, uh, as you know, over the past several months, there's been a lot of, uh, confusion with messages coming from the governmental agencies, as far as COVID activity vaccines. I think the whole term of warp speed, getting the term out there. When you talk with the people in the community, uh, that doesn't really build a lot of trust that the vaccine would be safe.
Speaker 1: 01:49 Will you be conducting your own testing trials as a part of this review panel?
Speaker 2: 01:54 No, this panel was not there to do their own testing. It's really just to look at the data that the FDA has looked at as far as rendering, uh, whether the vaccine is safe. So for instance, will the vaccine hasn't been tested in a large enough of the population? Number two, has it been tested in a diverse population? Uh, there are many, uh, trials out there not just with, uh, vaccines that, uh, are not tested in a diverse population. And we know sometimes there are differences in populations and how they react to, uh, various medications and vaccines. And is it effective? Um, what is the data showing that it's effective? So those are the things we're going to be looking at.
Speaker 1: 02:42 Speaking of having enough people of different races been involved in the test trials, it's known that African-Americans and Latinos have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19 access to medical care and a history of exploitation in particular, in medical research and still existing racism in medical treatment, they all continue to undermine trust in medical care for many communities of color. How concerned are you that this will impact these communities decisions to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Speaker 2: 03:17 Well, you know, that's really why, um, uh, I've been advocating for this and this is, uh, one of the reasons why I think I was added to the trial because we have been raising at the COVID equity task force here in San Diego. I'm also on a other national task force, the national medical association task force. And the whole issue is that we realize there's a bit of trust. I think the last data that I saw several months ago, when you asked the population, would you take a, uh, COVID, uh, vaccine? Um, it, it was like 70% of whites said they would. And about 65% of blacks said they would, well, th they, they repeated that study and it went down to about 43% of the black community who said that they would accept the vaccine. So it's a whole issue of trust due to what I, the, the, uh, legacy and history of, uh, of testing, uh, inappropriately in African-American community. And then the confusion that's coming from the, uh, national agencies about, uh, whether something is safe or not. So I think it's critical that they have what we call trusted messages that are looking at the data. Um, how do I determine whether it's a, a trusted messenger? Well, what I take it, who I feel safe taking that vaccine and what I recommend it for my own family,
Speaker 1: 04:40 How can California ensure that a COVID vaccine is distributed equitably among the population?
Speaker 2: 04:47 So I love some of the, uh, preliminary, uh, recommendations, uh, that actually started, uh, at the national Academy of science talking about equitable distribution of treatment. And I think, uh, the state of California and the governor has adopted, uh, many of those principles is as far as first, uh, first line, uh, workers at risk populations. So, uh, they've already begun to develop what I think is an equitable way to distribute the vaccine.
Speaker 1: 05:23 Do you foresee doctor and effective vaccine bringing back life as we used to know it in California?
Speaker 2: 05:30 Well, I think it's one of the tools. Um, um, um, I think there's a lot, we're learning about this, uh, virus, um, and, um, from, uh, we're going to be looking at various, uh, vaccines, uh, but from my, uh, knowledge and the vaccines that are actually talking about the coming out, I don't know that the vaccine alone is going to solve the problem, but I think there's going to be one of the tools. So for, uh, is the vaccine going to be effective for several months, a year, two years, that's going to be critical. Um, uh, in, uh, how effective is it? Is it like the flu vaccine many times is only 30, 40, 50% effective? What is the effectiveness of the, um, uh, COVID vaccine? We don't have those answers. So I think there's going to be multiple other things we're going to have to be looking at. And I think for a while, the vaccine or no vaccine was still going to have to be practicing, wear a mask, wash your hands, social distancing, they work.
Speaker 1: 06:36 I've been speaking with dr. Rodney hood, president and founder of the multicultural health foundation. He is one of the San Diego doctors. Who've been appointed to the state vaccine safety panel and dr. Hood, thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2: 06:49 You're welcome. Thank you for having me.