The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has authorized use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Sunday.
The vaccine won emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday and the first shipments are expected to arrive in Washington this week. Moderna’s vaccine is the second to gain approval from the FDA and the work group comprised of vaccine experts from Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.
“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 in a news release. “Having two vaccines to combat COVID-19 will help us begin to recover from this destructive pandemic.”
The work group was formed to further vet any federally distributed vaccines by adding another layer of independent review.
Moderna’s vaccine is easier to handle than the previously approved Pfizer vaccine, which is already in use, as it does not require storage at ultra-frozen temperatures.
“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 in the release. “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.”