Health & Fitness

The Trump coronavirus vaccine chief had no contact with the Biden transition crew

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Operation Warp Speed's chief advisor, Dr. Moncef Slaoui admitted Sunday that he had "no contact" with the incoming Biden administration regarding the transition process and vaccine distribution plans.

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

Despite his lack of communication with the new Biden administration, Slaoui said he could "not see" the transition affecting vaccine distribution.

"We are focused on ensuring that vaccines are available as quickly as possible and distributed as efficiently as possible, regardless of the political context that surrounds us. Of course, we would hope the transition will be calm and smooth," Slaoui told ABC . "We're dealing with anything that could derail the process. As it stands now, I can't see it, but hopefully it won't happen."

When asked if he was open to talking to the Biden administration, Slaoui said he was "happy" to share information that was already published, but nothing confidential.

"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 NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.

CNBC has asked the White House for comment.

The General Services Administration has not yet identified an official elected president two weeks after Biden's election victory, preventing his future administration from gaining access to critical resources and information. This has "clear implications," Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain told ABC, "and that impact is escalating every day."

"The President-Elect and Vice-President-Elect are not given any information to which they are entitled. Our transition will not have access to agency officials to develop our plans and there is a lot of emphasis placed on this vaccine rollout plan that will be in In the early days of a Biden presidency, we have no access to it, "said Klain.

Slaoui added that Operation Warp Speed ​​is "isolated from the administration, the political environment and the political context" and "therefore all decisions are made (and) the train moves, regardless of whether one administration or the other does this. " make no difference. "

It did so after Pfizer and BioNTech filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval for their coronavirus vaccine on Friday. The approval process is expected to take a few weeks. A meeting of the advisory committee to review the vaccine is tentatively scheduled for early December.

Moderna is also planning to apply for an emergency permit, as preliminary third-phase data showed the vaccine was more than 94% effective at preventing Covid-19, the company said on Monday.

Once an emergency approval for a coronavirus vaccine is approved, the doses will be distributed across the country within 24 hours, Slaoui told Meet the Press on Sunday.

"Within 24 hours of approval, the vaccine will be moving into the areas where each state would have told us they wanted the vaccine doses," Slaoui said. "We cannot move the vaccine doses before approval for emergency use."

Each state health department determines where the vaccine is kept, and with the help of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each state also decides who to vaccinate first. to Slaoui.

It is likely that the vaccines will be given on a "priority basis", Slaoui said, and "those are very likely to be (those who are) healthcare workers, first responders, very high-risk people and the elderly."

"I would expect, perhaps on the second day after approval, on December 11th or December 12th, hopefully the first people in the United States, in all states, in the areas the Department of Health said we should be vaccinated." Deliver vaccine, "Slaoui told CNN on Sunday.

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Katherine Clark