COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force


It has been publicly reported that a majority of Americans are skeptical of the current federal administration’s credibility on COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, with reports showing the number of Americans willing to receive the vaccine if it were available today has declined since spring.

To establish and build public trust, New York’s independent Clinical Advisory Task Force was formed on September 29, 2020. It is comprised of leading scientists, doctors, and health experts who expeditiously review every COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government, and will advise New York State on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus.

The Clinical Advisory Task Force has helped NYS determine if the vaccine safe and effective. The Task Force is comprised of Department of Health subject matter experts and recognized external experts in medicine, law, and science.

On December 10, 2020, the Clinical Advisory Task Force unanimously recommended the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

On December 18, 2020, the Task Force unanimously recommended the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna.

On March 1, 2021, the Task Force unanimously recommended the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson. 

On May 12, 2021, the Task Force unanimously recommended to immediately implement expanded use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.

On September 24, 2021, the Task Force endorsed CDC's statement recommending a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and also a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

On October 23, 2021, the Task Forced endorsed CDC's expanded eligibility for booster shots.

On November 21, 2021, the Task Forced endorsed CDC recommendations to expand booster dose eligibility to all individuals aged 18 years or older.

Task Force Members

Charles M. Rice, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University (Chair) 

Scott M. Hammer, M.D., New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center (Chair)

Bruce Farber, M.D., Northwell

Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Kelvin Lee, M.D., Roswell Park

Sharon Nachman, M.D., Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook


The Task Force’s independent review of any federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine will help address publicly reported concerns about the scientific process and rush to market. The Task Force will rely on numerous data sources including public information and the findings of expert third party independent organizations. In addition, they will provide for the involvement and/or input of regional/local clinical and other leadership representative of all areas of the state. The Task Force will advise on the vaccine safety profile, legal authority to withhold vaccine, and clinical best practices if New York State must withhold or pause distribution of the vaccine. The group will also advise New York State as to the implications of a vaccine being released under an FDA EUA.

Task Force Letters