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Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

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

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.


Of note: Newsom said he considers mid-2021 to be a realistic projection for when a vaccine could be publicly distributed, noting the "political polarization" around the issue.

  • "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: Faucitold CBS Evening News last week that scientists should know by November or December whether potential COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and that vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials could be widely available by April if this is proven to be the case.

  • 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.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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