A syringe holding the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Katherine R. Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 4, 2021. (Harika Maddala/ Bay City News)

A handful of state legislators, including some from the Bay Area, announced the formation this week of a COVID-19 vaccine work group focused on developing policy that will help stop the virus’ spread.

The work group includes Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, as well as Assembly members Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, and Evan Low, D-San Jose, and plans to work with medical experts to determine the best methods to encourage vaccination against the virus.

“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,” Wicks said.

Founding members of the work group also include Sens. Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, and Assembly members Dr. Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, and Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters.

The legislators formed the group as the state remains in the throes of a surge in cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant.

The work group said it also hopes to combat misinformation about vaccines not being safe and effective at significantly reducing the chance of serious illness and death.

As of Thursday, 81.2 percent of state residents age 5 and up have received at least one vaccine dose. In addition, 51 percent of those eligible for a booster vaccine dose have received one, according to state data.

“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,” Wiener said. “The Vaccine Work Group will help California get there.”