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Joe Biden says delay in transition to put COVID-19 vaccination plan behind by 'weeks or months'

In a virtual roundtable with healthcare workers on COVID-19, Biden alleged on Wednesday that his transition team has not been receiving any cooperation from the Trump administration.

November 19, 2020 / 11:54 AM IST

US President-elect Joe Biden has warned that a delay in transition by the outgoing Trump administration will put behind the COVID-19 vaccination plan by "weeks or months".

In a virtual roundtable with healthcare workers on COVID-19, Biden alleged on Wednesday that his transition team has not been receiving any cooperation from the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump has refused to concede the November 3 US election and has filed multiple lawsuits challenging poll results in several States.

"One of the problems that we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognise – the law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognises who the winner is and then they have to have access to all the data and information that the government possesses to be prepared,” he said.

It does not require there to be an absolute winner, Biden said, adding that it says the apparent winner.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"We have been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about the depth of the stockpiles. We know there’s not much at all. We get to the point where we have a sense of when these vaccines come out, how they’ll be distributed, who will be first in line, what the plan is,” he said.

"There’s over 300 million Americans and beyond our border that they’re going to have to be taken care of. There’s a whole lot of things that are we just don’t have available to us. So much as made available soon, we’re going to be behind by weeks or months being able to put together the whole initiative relating to the biggest promise we have with two drug companies coming along and finding 95 per cent effectiveness/efficiency in the vaccines, which is enormous promise,” Biden said.

He said it is the only slowdown right now that his transition team is facing.

"We put together I think a first-rate team that you would all be proud of and we’re all ready to go and doing an awful lot of work right now,” he noted.

This week, some of the nation’s largest medical groups joined Dr Anthony Fauci, as well as members of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board, in calling for the GSA to stop delaying ascertainment and ensure a seamless transition as COVID-19 infection rates surge across the country.

The experts emphasised the need for a smooth transition to bolster the COVID-19 response and prevent further harm to the American people.

They said that ascertainment was necessary for the Biden-Harris transition to help determine the public health and economic steps to get the virus under control, to deliver immediate relief to working families, to address ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, and to reopen the schools and businesses safely and effectively.

In a letter, the CEOs of the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association urged the Trump administration to "work closely with the Biden transition team to share all critical information related to COVID-19.”

"Real-time data and information on the supply of therapeutics, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital bed capacity and workforce availability to plan for further deployment of the nation’s assets needs to be shared to save countless lives” they wrote in the letter.

"All information about the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile, the assets from Operation Warp Speed, and plans for dissemination of therapeutics and vaccines needs to be shared as quickly as possible to ensure that there is continuity in strategic planning so that there is no lapse in our ability to care for patients,” they said.

The letter cited their perspective as "providers of care for all Americans" who see the suffering that is occurring due to COVID-19.

"We see families who have lost both parents from COVID-19; we see children suffering from long-term effects due to a COVID-19 infection; and we see minority populations disproportionately suffering from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is from this front line human perspective that we urge you to share critical data and information as soon as possible,” it said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Nov 19, 2020 11:43 am

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