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. Obviously, we would hope the transition will be calm and smooth,” Slaoui told ABC . “We’re dealing with anything that could cause the process to fail. As it stands now, I can’t see it, but hopefully it won’t.”
When asked if he was open to talking to the Biden administration, Slaoui said he was “happy” to share information that had already been released, but nothing confidential.
“I have been informed that I should not say anything confidential to anyone, including someone who is not part of the administration, and I will act in accordance with legal requirements,” said Slaoui said NBC 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 much emphasis will be placed on this vaccine roll-out plan will be vital in the early days of a Biden presidency – we don’t have access to it, “said Klain.
Slaoui added that Operation Warp Speed is “isolated from the administration, political environment and political context” and “therefore all decisions are made” [and] The train goes whether [it’s] One or the other administration makes no difference. “
It did after Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency approval for their coronavirus vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday. The approval process is expected to take a few weeks. A meeting of the advisory committee to review the vaccine is provisionally planned for early December.
Moderna also plans 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 has been approved, the doses will be distributed across the country within 24 hours, Slaoui said Meet the Press On Sunday.
“Within 24 hours of approval, the vaccine will move and be in the areas where any state would have told us they wanted the vaccine doses,” Slaoui said. “We cannot move the vaccine doses until they are approved 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 “priority,” Slaoui said, and “it is very likely. [those that are] Healthcare workers, first-time workers, very high risk people, the elderly. “
“I would expect, maybe 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 advised, will be given the vaccine.” to deliver, “Slaoui said CNN On Sunday.