Legislators Form Vaccine Work Group to Boost Public Health Policies

Work Group to Facilitate Coordinated Action and Bring Thoughtful, Comprehensive Approach to Save Lives

January 19, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA – As COVID-19 surges and causes an alarming increase in hospitalizations and cases among children, California legislators announced the formation of the legislative Vaccine Work Group that is developing cohesive and comprehensive, evidence-based policies to strengthen our ability to stop the spread of COVID and other diseases, while battling misinformation.

The founding members of the Vaccine Work Group include Senator Dr. Richard Pan, Senator Scott Weiner, Senator Josh Newman, Assemblymember Akilah Weber, MD, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, and Assemblymember Evan Low.

The Vaccine Work Group is examining data, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines that have been proven to reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” said Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”

“Vaccines are miracles of science — one of the gifts of modern life. I’m energized to be a member of the vaccine working group and to fight alongside my colleagues against the misinformation and extremism that have kept so many from getting vaccinated. Vaccines have saved countless lives during the COVID-19 pandemic — just as they have for horrific diseases like smallpox, polio, and measles — and we need to continue ramping up vaccinations and boosters across California. The Vaccine Work Group will help California get there,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).

“The world is suffering from all of the impacts of COVID-19 and Californians are suffering along with everyone else,” said Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). “We would like to return to our pre-pandemic lives as soon as possible and that will require immunization for everyone. We know that the vaccines are effective, so the challenge now is to educate people to ignore all of the deadly misinformation being served to them daily. It’s an honor to work alongside this group of legislators whose focus is the health and safety of every person in this state.”

“The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastating effects to every city, county and area of California,” said Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber (D-San Diego). “Our objectives are clear—we are prioritizing the health and safety of all Californians. I am looking forward to crafting legislation with my colleagues that acts to protect all populations across the state.”

“Science has saved millions of Americans from needless disease, disability, and even death, from smallpox through the COVID pandemic,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters). “There is no excuse to allow people to live at risk when our health systems can protect them. My colleagues and I will rely on science to show us the way to a healthier future for every Californian and visitor to our Great State.”

“Vaccines represent the archetype of public health — a social compact, and a belief in doing our part to protect each other and the communities we love,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “Getting our vaccination rates up is our best chance of preventing more death and disability across California, and I’m so proud to unite with this group of legislators to advance data-driven policies that will save lives and protect the people we serve.”

“The historic formation of the Vaccine Work Group by California Legislators is so critical right now because we must not lose sight of our fundamental belief in science and facts when forming and implementing public health policies. These forward-thinking public policy leaders know that vaccines save lives and if we allow disinformation to drive our state policy making we will not only see more Americans needlessly suffer and die, but we will sacrifice the long term stability of our society having effectively abandoned the idea that we all must work together to protect each other in times of crisis.” Catherine Flores Martin, California Immunization Coalition Executive Director

“The death and disability caused by COVID is the worst we’ve ever seen, and yet in States around the country we see too many politicians avoiding discussion or action around life-saving safety measures like vaccines, masking and testing. That is why it means so much to have legislators take this historic step and raise their voices for the pro-vaccine majority.” Crystal Strait, ProtectUS Board Chair

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