President-elect Joe Biden’s team of coronavirus advisers will be meeting with leading drug companies that are developing Covid-19 vaccines this week. Ron Klain, Biden’s recently selected chief of staff spoke with the press this past Sunday announcing the meetings would be occurring despite current president Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and other difficulties he’s setting for a smooth transition of power.
Klain also worked under President Barack Obama during the Ebola epidemic, so he’s worked with Biden and his inner circle before as well. In his announcement this past Sunday, he mentioned that Biden’s top health officials can’t coordinate with federal employees until the General Services Administration approves the transition process, which has only been further delayed by Trump’s baseless claims of an illegitimate election and constant tweeting that he won the election; despite losing both the popular and electoral votes.
“We’re going to have meetings between our top scientific advisers and the officials of these drug companies.”
Klain didn’t list all of the companies and leaders that they’d be meeting with, but did name-drop Pfizer as one of the companies that will be contacted. Pfizer made headlines last week when they announced they developed the first coronavirus vaccine that proved to be more than 90% effective; as of Monday morning drug company Moderna also announced that their vaccine was 94.5% effective. Johnson&Johnson and AstraZeneca will also likely be contacted based on how far they are in their trials as well.
One of the biggest challenges that the Biden administration will face will be how to manufacture and distribute the vaccine once he takes office in January. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, needs to be kept in a very specific cold environment that would require pharmacies and doctors offices everywhere to acquire expensive new medical freezers. Klain claimed the sooner Biden’s transition team is able to collaborate with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the faster all of these plans can be made.
“The bigger issue will be the mechanics of getting this vaccine out. Our experts need to talk to those currently in power as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have in January.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently spoke with CNN about the logistics of how the first doses of the vaccine will be distributed throughout the nation. Initially high risk individuals will be given the vaccine first, this includes healthcare workers, the elderly, and individuals who are severely immunocompromised. After that the vaccine will go to areas of the country seeing the biggest outbreaks. Fauci believes every American could potentially be vaccinated by the summer of 2021.
“It’s great to have a vaccine, but vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives. And that means you’ve got to get that vaccine into people’s arms all over this country. It’s a giant logistical project,” Klain said. Fauci also told the press recently that the Trump administration needs to start working with Biden’s team as it literally is a matter of life or death.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.