The Biden group meets with coronavirus vaccine makers this week because the Trump stone partitions move
President-elect Joe Biden discusses the protection of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its health plans during a news conference on November 10, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President-elect Joe Biden's advisors will meet this week with the leading pharmaceutical companies developing coronavirus vaccines, Biden's newly-elected chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday.
The meetings take place despite President Donald Trump's refusal to allow the election, despite confirming that Biden won in a tweet posted on Sunday.
Klain, the former Ebola tsar under President Barack Obama, told MSNBC's Meet the Press that Biden's top health officials cannot coordinate with federal government officials until the General Services Administration approves the transition process.
Despite the lack of access, Klain said Biden's team would meet with the drug companies and identify Pfizer as one of those companies.
"We will have meetings between our best scientific advisors and officials from these drug companies," said Klain. Other leading companies with Covid-19 vaccine candidates in late-stage clinical trials include Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca.
A spokesman for Biden's team was not immediately available to comment on what other companies the president-elect's advisors are planning to meet. The GSA has not returned CNBC's request for comment.
The manufacture and distribution of the vaccines will be a major challenge for the Biden government once the president-elect takes office on January 20. comes with extensive storage and distribution requirements, including ultra-cold temperatures.
"The bigger problem will be the mechanics of manufacturing and distribution that will bring this vaccine out," said Klain, adding that it is important that Biden's transition team work with the US Department of Health "as soon as possible" .
HHS was a leader in the development, manufacture and sale of Covid-19 vaccines as part of Operation Warp Speed. A spokesman for the agency was not immediately available for comment.
"There are people at HHS who are making plans to implement this vaccine. Our experts need to speak to these people as soon as possible so that nothing subsides in this change of power that we will have on January 20th," said Klain.
The country's leading scientists expect the first vaccine doses to be available in limited quantities by the end of December. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's The Lead on Tuesday that there should be enough doses of Covid-19 vaccine for Americans who want to be vaccinated against the disease by the end of April 2021.
"It's great to have a vaccine, but vaccines don't save lives. Vaccinations save lives," Klain said on Sunday. "And that means you have to get this vaccine into people's arms all over this country. It's a huge logistical project."
Fauci, who has served under six presidents, also said Sunday that the Trump administration should work with Biden's team on the coronavirus response, calling the transition period "critical".
"It's almost like being handed a baton in a race," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper about State of the Union. "You don't want to stop and then give it to someone, you just essentially want to move on."