“It’s our responsibility as a health care provider to be the voice of science and truth,” said Chris Van Gorder, Scripps president and CEO. “There is a strong potential for public opinion to differ on which COVID-19 vaccine is best, with some people lacking faith in any of them. Our goal, through this committee, is to provide recommendations on a vaccine or vaccines based on an objective review of the available medical data and clinical information.”
Researchers worldwide are testing 48 COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials on humans, and at least 93 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals. Nine COVID-19 vaccines are in Phase 3 large scale efficacy testing. Expectations are that the Food and Drug Administration could approve a vaccine by the end of the year. In a recent Gallup poll, a little more than a third of respondents indicated they would not get a free, FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
The members of the committee and their roles or area of expertise are: Anil Keswani, M.D., corporate senior vice president, chief medical officer, ambulatory and accountable care, co-chair; Ghazala Sharieff, M.D., MBA, corporate senior vice president, chief medical officer, acute care, clinical excellence and experience, co-chair; Thomas A. Buchholz, M.D., medical director, Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center; Carrie L. Costantini, M.D., chair of graduate medical education, hematology and oncology; Anupam Bobby Garg, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of women’s and newborn service line, obstetrics and gynecology; Miguel A. Goicoechea, M.D., infectious disease; Erik Hogen, M.D., co-chair, Scripps Medical Foundation Vaccine Committee, chair, Scripps Clinic Medical Group department of pediatrics; John Kelso, M.D., allergy/immunology; Oska Lawrence, Pharm.D., director of pharmacy services; Ian McHardy, Ph.D., director of microbiology, molecular and immunology; Mitul Patel, Pharm.D., pharmacy manager, Scripps Health Plan; Mark D. Shalauta, M.D., chair of Scripps Medical Foundation Vaccine Committee, family medicine; Biraj Shah, M.D., internal medicine program residency director; Craig Uejo, M.D., associate chief quality officer, medical director, occupational health and wellness; Marin Xavier, M.D., chair, Scripps Medical Foundation pharmacy and therapeutics, medical oncology.
“Each meeting, we will review and evaluate the leading vaccine candidates,” said Anil Keswani, M.D., Scripps corporate vice president and chief medical officer, ambulatory and accountable care. “Once options reach a stage of completion, we will advise Scripps’ clinical and administrative leadership as to which, if any, vaccines we recommend using from an objective medical and scientific perspective.”
The committee is the latest part of Scripps’ wide-ranging intensive response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Having seen the heartbreaking impact COVID-19 has on patients and families, both in the short and long term, our vaccine evaluation team will allow us to continue to provide cutting edge care during this challenging pandemic,” said Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps corporate senior vice president and chief medical officer, acute care, clinical excellence and experience.
ABOUT SCRIPPS HEALTH
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health care delivery system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats more than 600,000 patients annually through the dedication of 3,000 affiliated physicians and more than 15,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, 28 outpatient centers and clinics, and hundreds of affiliated physician offices throughout the region.
Recognized as a leader in disease and injury prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Scripps has been ranked five times as one of the nation’s best health care systems by Truven Health Analytics. Its hospitals are ranked No. 1 in San Diego County and among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Scripps also is recognized by Advisory Board, Fortune and Working Mother magazine as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at www.scripps.org.