Coronavirus vaccines will become available to Americans in ‘unheard of’ timeline: Tom Price
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Operation Warp Speed, the surge on coronavirus cases and a nationwide lockdown.
Advisers for President-elect Joe Biden are scheduled to meet with COVID-19 vaccine-makers in the coming days as cases have surged across the country.
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“We’re going to start those consultations this week,” Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain told NBC's 'Meet the Press', citing Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer and BioNtech's vaccine candidate recently showed 90% effectiveness in its latest clinical trial. Other companies developing potential vaccines include Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
A Biden transition team spokesperson did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.
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The announcement comes as President Trump refuses to concede the presidential election, making the Biden administration's access to important resources that will prepare them to fight the pandemic more difficult.
Klain noted that a key issue will be "the mechanics of manufacture and distribution" to get the vaccine out and stressed the urgent need for the transition team to be able to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “as quickly as possible.”
"Its great to have a vaccine, but vaccines don't save lives, vaccinations save lives," Klain added."That means you have to get that vaccine into people's arms. It's a giant logistical project."
HHS has been leading the development, manufacturing and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines as part of Operation Warp Speed. The shots will be free to Americans, and the goal is to have most people vaccinated by about this time next year. Many people will need two doses.
Biden’s top health officials will be unable to coordinate with federal government employees until the General Services Administration approves the transition process.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN's State of the Union that it would be better if the Trump administration and Biden administration could start working together on a coronavirus response, calling the transition period "crucial". Fauci compared the process to runners passing on the baton in a relay race.
“You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody,” he said. “You want to just essentially keep going.”
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The Biden administration recently laid out its plan to beat the pandemic on its new transition website.
In addition to investing in vaccines, the Biden administration also plans to implement a nationwide mask mandate by working with governors. Biden has noted that if governors refuse, the administration would reach out to mayors and county executives to enforce the rule. Additional measures include ramping up testing and securing PPE supply chains with the Defense Production Act.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for new daily cases stood at 145,400 on Saturday, signaling that the country is adding an average of about 1 million new cases a week and about 820 deaths per day. There are more than 11 million coronavirus cases in the United States and more than 246,000 related deaths as the university's latest update on Sunday evening.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report
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