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Inslee announces authorization of Moderna vaccine

By Mario Lotmore | Lynnwood Times Staff

Olympia, Wash., December 20, 2020 – Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

Last night, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process and has concluded the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is safe and efficacious for use in the Western States. According to the Workgroup, the Moderna vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine for use in the Western States.

The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  Shipments of the 183,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to arrive by the end of December 2020. The announcement comes after the FDA and CDC granted their initial authorization of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

According the Food and Drug Administration’s press release that the Moderna vaccine, like its Pfizer BioNTech counterpart, is intended to trigger an immune response in the body to defend against the virus.

“The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine contains messenger RNA (mRNA), which is genetic material. The vaccine contains a small piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s mRNA that instructs cells in the body to make the virus’s distinctive “spike” protein. After a person receives this vaccine, their body produces copies of the spike protein, which does not cause disease, but triggers the immune system to learn to react defensively, producing an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.” 

The Western States Workgroup is comprised of vaccine experts from Washington, California, Oregon and Nevada. On October 27, Western States experts joined California’s Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to form the Western States Workgroup. The Workgroup has been meeting to review the data and analysis to ensure the safety and efficacy of both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines federally authorized.

In April, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada joined in a Western States Pact which shared a vision for fighting COVID-19 and reopening their economies. Western State leaders in May urged congressional leaders to approve $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief for states and local governments.

The Pfizer vaccine was authorized last week and is already being administered throughout Washington state. Providence Regional Medical Center Everett (PRMCE) received 3,900 doses of the new Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.

“I’m pleased that the Western States Workgroup gave their unanimous recommendation to the Moderna vaccine today and encourages immediate use of the vaccine in our states,” Inslee said. “Having two vaccines to combat COVID-19 will help us begin to recover from this destructive pandemic.

“While disease activity remains high and our ICUs remain near capacity, we are hopeful that the introduction of another COVID vaccine will get us much closer to defeating this virus. Stepping up vaccinations for health care workers and our highest risk populations will help save the lives. We must continue to be vigilant and keep up wearing masks, physically distancing and not having gatherings, especially during the upcoming holidays.

“We still need to be extremely vigilant in taking care of each other until the vaccine is widely available, which will still be several months from now,” Inslee said. “We must continue masking, physical distancing and not gathering with friends and family, especially during this holiday season. Our disease activity remains high, and we must work together to keep each other safe.”

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