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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move could raise further public concern that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy. Newsom noted the "political polarization" around the issue.

Of note: Newsom said he considered mid-2021 to be a realistic projection for when a vaccine could be publicly distributed.

  • "No matter who the next president is, we're going to maintain our vigilance," he added.

What else he's saying: "Of course, we don’t take anyone's word for it," Newsom said, announcing the establishment of the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

  • "We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts.
  • "These experts … will independently review and monitor any vaccine trials to guarantee safety, to guarantee equity and to guarantee the transparency of the distribution of our vaccines."

The big picture: Fauci told "CBS Evening News" last week that scientists should know by November or December whether potential COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials could be widely available by April if this is proven to be the case, he said.

  • Health officials testified on Capitol Hill in September that the vaccine approval process would be based on safety and efficacy, not politics.
  • The FDA also stressed in new guidelines last month it would toughen the requirements for a coronavirus vaccine emergency authorization.
  • The FDA did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

Jan 27, 2021 - Health

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya eyes run for California governor

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The new king of SPACs has his eyes on a different title: Governor of California.

Driving the news: Chamath Palihapitiya is very seriously considering a run for gov, if incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom succumbs to a burgeoning recall effort.

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