Biden Says ‘More People May Die’ From COVID if Trump Continues to Delay Transition

President-elect Joe Biden said on Monday that “more people may die” from the coronavirus if the Trump administration doesn’t begin coordinating with his team on plans to vaccinate more than 300 million Americans against the virus, CNBC reported.

“If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind, over a month and a half,” Biden said during a press briefing. “And so, it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now.”

Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar under President Barack Obama, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Biden’s coronavirus advisors would meet with the leading drug companies developing coronavirus vaccines this week.

However, Klain said the president-elect’s top health officials can’t coordinate with federal government employees until the General Services Administration approves the transition process. Trump has refused to concede the election, though he acknowledged in a tweet posted Sunday that Biden had won, before walking back that comment.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters on Monday. “How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Monday that between Moderna and Pfizer, there will be roughly 40 million doses of vaccine available by the end of this year, enough to inoculate about 20 million people, since both vaccines require two shots.

The goal is to provide enough coronavirus vaccine doses to all Americans who want to be vaccinated against the disease by the second quarter of 2021, Azar said. There are roughly 331 million Americans.

“It’s going to take a while for the vaccine to be able to be available and distributed,” Biden said, encouraging Americans to continue wearing face coverings in the meantime.

Moncef Slaoui, who runs the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed Covid-19 vaccine program, told CNBC shortly after Biden’s remarks that he will continue to work quickly toward developing and distributing an authorized vaccine.

“Since day one, our objective has been to go fast. And absolutely every day and every hour counts, and that’s why we are where we are,” Slaoui said on “Closing Bell”. “And clearly, we would hope there is no disruption because of the transition.”

The president-elect also told reporters Monday that he “wouldn’t hesitate” to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“It’s important that people who are in the greatest need get it,” Biden said during a press briefing. “I wouldn’t hesitate to get the vaccine, but I also want to set an example.”

On Monday, Moderna reported preliminary phase three trial data that showed its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19. Those results follow similar findings from Pfizer, which announced last week that early data shows its vaccine is more than 90% effective.

“I think we’re on a clear path now. We’re on a clear path with the international community and international leaders, and the scientific community have focused on these two vaccines,” Biden said. “They appear to be ready for prime time, ready to be used. And if that continues along those roads, I would take the vaccine.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.