The pharmaceutical company Moderna announced on Monday that its trial vaccine is 94.5 percent effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus, based on early results from an ongoing study of its effectiveness. However, the Trump administration’s decision to block President-elect Joe Biden’s scientific advisers from accessing information on an eventual rollout for a coronavirus vaccination could threaten the next administration’s efforts to fight the pandemic, as President Donald Trump refuses to concede his loss in the 2020 election.
Moderna is the second company to announce what appears to be an effective vaccine for COVID-19, though the vaccine may not be available until the spring due to further need for study. Pfizer also released data on its version of a vaccine last week, stating that it has a 90 percent effectiveness in preventing the spread of the virus.
With news of both vaccines being effective, the White House is likely to begin developing plans for distributing vaccines across the country. But because Trump did not win reelection, the Biden administration will be in charge of the majority of the rollout.
In spite of the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate with the president-elect’s transition team on plans for vaccine distribution, Biden’s health advisers are planning to meet with vaccine makers and other experts on how to execute the rollout when a vaccine is ready. Coordination between the incoming and oncoming administrations will be necessary for a strong rollout, Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain explained.
“We now have the possibility…of a vaccine starting perhaps in December or January. There are people at [the Department of Health and Human Services] making plans to implement that vaccine. Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on January 20,” Klain said.
Anthony Fauci, a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, drew the same conclusions on Monday morning during an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
“I’ve served in six administrations, so I’ve seen a number of transitions, and I know that transitions are very important to get a smooth, as I use the metaphor, essentially passing a baton without stopping running,” Fauci explained. “You just want things to go very smoothly so hopefully we’ll see that soon. Transitions are important.”
Having a smooth transition is important, Fauci added, because “the virus is not going to stop and call a timeout while things change, the virus is just going to keep going.”
“The vaccines are effective, we want to get it approved as quickly as we possibly can, we want to get doses to people starting in December and then we want to really get the ball rolling as we get into January, February and March. We want a smooth process with that, and the way you do that is by essentially having the two groups speak to each other and exchange information,” he added.
The president on Monday morning continued to insist that he was the real winner of the presidential race earlier this month, and has wrongly alleged since his loss that the election was stolen from him, without providing any substantial evidence to back his claims.
“I won the Election,” Trump tweeted on Monday. Twitter included a disclaimer on his tweet which read, “Official sources called this election differently.”