Trump’s coronavirus vaccine chief had ‘no contact’ with Biden’s transition team

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The chief advisor of Operation Warp Speed, Dr Moncef Slaoui, had “no contact” with the Biden administration regarding the transition process and the vaccine distribution process.

Since President-elect Joe Biden won the election, President Donald Trump has refused to give in and his campaign has challenged the election results in court.

Despite his lack of communication with the incoming Biden administration, Slaoui said he “could not see” the transition impacting the vaccine distribution process.

“We are working to make sure that vaccines are available as quickly as possible and distributed as efficiently as possible, regardless of the political context around us. Of course, we hope that the transition will go smoothly and smoothly,” said said Slaoui TBEN. “We are concerned about anything that could derail the process. As it stands, I can’t see this happening, but I hope it doesn’t.”

When asked if he would be open to speaking with the Biden administration, Slaoui said he would be “happy” to share information already made public, but nothing confidential.

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“I have been informed that I should not say anything confidential to anyone, including anyone who is not part of the administration, and I will act in accordance with legal requirements,” Slaoui told Meet the Press on NBC. Sunday.

The General Service Administration has yet to formally identify an elected president two weeks after Biden’s election victory, blocking his incoming administration’s access to key resources and information. It has “definite impacts,” Biden chief of staff Ron Klain told TBEN, “and those impacts are escalating every day.”

“The president-elect and the vice-president-elect do not benefit from the briefings to which they are entitled. Our transition does not allow agency officials to help us develop our plans, and we place great importance on this vaccine deployment plan. it’s going to be critical in the early days of a Biden presidency – we don’t have access to it, ”Klain said.

Slaoui added that Operation Warp Speed ​​has been “isolated from the administration, the political environment and the political context” and “therefore all decisions are made. [and] the train is running, be it [it’s] one administration or another makes no difference. “

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It comes after Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their coronavirus vaccine. The approval process is expected to take a few weeks and an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine is tentatively scheduled for early December.

Moderna also plans to apply for emergency use authorization, as preliminary data from its phase three trial has shown its vaccine to be more than 94% effective in preventing Covid-19, the company said on Monday.

Once an authorization for emergency use of a coronavirus vaccine is approved, doses of it will be dispersed across the country within 24 hours, Slaoui told Meet the Press on Sunday.

“Within 24 hours of approval, the vaccine will be moved and located in areas where each state has told us they want the vaccine doses,” Slaoui said. “We cannot move vaccine doses until emergency use is approved.”

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Each state department of health will determine where the vaccine will be stored, and with assistance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each state will also decide who will be vaccinated first, according to Slaoui.

It is likely that the vaccines will be administered on a “priority basis,” Slaoui said, and “it is very likely, perhaps, [those that are] health workers, frontline workers, very high risk people, the elderly. “

“I would expect, maybe the second day after approval, December 11 or 12, hopefully the first people will be vaccinated across the United States, in all states, in areas that the State Department of Health indicated. deliver the vaccine to us, “Slaoui told TBEN on Sunday.

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