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DC Health Scientific Advisory Committee | Vaccine

DC Health Scientific Advisory Committee for the Development and Implementation of a Safe, Effective, and Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program in the District of Columbia

The Director of the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) is convening a Scientific Advisory Committee for the Development and Implementation of a Safe, Effective, and Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program in the District of Columbia. The primary objective of the committee is to advise the Director of DC Health on effective strategies to communicate public health information regarding safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to promote vaccine confidence and uptake. Additional objectives include advising on messaging and outreach strategies to counter misinformation and to promote confidence among high-risk populations.


The DC Health Scientific Advisory Committee for the Development and Implementation of a Safe, Effective and Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program in DC is responsible for:

  • Reviewing and providing technical feedback on data on vaccine safety for Phase 3 clinical trials, Phase 4 clinical trials and pharmacovigilance data for all vaccine candidates in the US

  • Reviewing and providing technical feedback on data on vaccine efficacy and quality for all vaccine candidates in the US

  • Reviewing vaccine policy recommendations of the National Academy of Medicine and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices related to priority groups for vaccination


The committee will convene every two weeks, or as determined by the Director, in the initial phases of COVID-19 vaccine program planning. Meeting frequency is expected to change over time; however, the Committee will not sunset until vaccination of the general population concludes. Meetings will be conducted virtually.

Staff support to the committee will be provided by the COVID-19 Vaccine Group within the Health and Medical Branch of the District’s Emergency Operation Center.

Meeting Recordings


About Health Committees

DC Health has staffed scientific advisory committees of experts in the past without open call to create the expertise necessary to address critical issues expediently.  It allows the agency to ensure that the talent and representation to meet the medical and science need is there. As the talent pool of individuals with specific expertise in infectious disease, vaccines and therapeutics, with familiarity with federal regulatory and clinical research practices, as well as affiliations with our academic and health professional societies is somewhat finite we were able to identify a remarkable group of individuals. They also have the reach of the populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, underrepresented in clinical trials, and with the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy and who are prone to medical misinformation. In some instances, input was sought from medical society leadership, medical school deans, and university presidents.



  • Dr. Melissa Clarke (Physician Consultant, 3M Health Information Systems, Member Black Coalition Against COVID-19)
  • Dr. Pamela Riley (Medical Director, DC Department of Health Care Finance)
  • Dr. Alan Greenberg (Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University)
  • Dr. Melissa Fries (Chair, Women’s and Infants’ Services, Medstar Washington Hospital Center)
  • Dr. Tamara McCants (Chair, DC Board of Pharmacy; Director of Residency Programs and Practice Transformation, Howard University College of Pharmacy; Residency Program Director Walgreens/Howard University Community Pharmacy Residency Program, Clinical & Administrative Pharmacy Sciences)
  • Dr. Roberta DeBiasi (Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Children’s National, NIAID Principal Investigator and PCORI Principal Investigator, and involved in emergency investigational new drug acquisitions for viral myocarditis and malaria)
  • Dr. Andrea Anderson (Chair, DC Board of Medicine)
  • Dr. Millicent Collins (Corresponding Secretary, MedChi, Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine, Immunizations and Pediatrics at Howard University)
  • Dr. L. Desiree Pineda (President, Medical Society of District of Columbia)
  • Dr. Elmer Huerta (Director of the Cancer Preventorium, GW Cancer Center)
  • Dr. Marc Siegel (Professor of Medicine, ID specialist and clinical trialist {Moderna Trial Co-Investigator}, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences)


  • Lupi Quinteros-Grady (President and CEO Latin American Youth Center)
  • Rhonda Hamilton (Ward 6 ANC Commissioner 6D06)
  • Rev. Dexter Nutall (Pastor New Bethel Baptist Church in Shaw NW DC)
  • Rev. Kendrick Curry, PhD, MDiv (AARP DC State President, Pastor, The Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Churh)
  • Dr. Nicole Lurie (former Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response, clinician at Bread for the City)—To Serve as Special Advisor