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Biden says Trump’s transition delay will put new government behind with vaccine

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks about the U.S. economy during a press briefing at the Queen Theater on November 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Biden and his advisors continue to work on the long term economic recovery plan his administration will try to put in place when he takes office.

President-elect Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration’s delay of the transition, saying it was preventing his team from getting information about how coronavirus vaccines will be distributed. 

Biden suggested during a roundtable with health care workers on Wednesday that the delays could put his administration behind by weeks or months in putting together a distribution initiative.

“We’ve been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about the depth of stockpiles. We know there’s not much at all,” Biden said during the virtual roundtable. 

“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 for 300 million Americans and beyond our border that will have to be taken care of,” he continued. “And there’s a whole lot of things we just don’t have available to us, so unless it’s made available to us soon, we’ll be behind by weeks or months to put together the initiative relating to the biggest problem we have with two drug companies coming along and finding 95 percent effectiveness efficiency in the vaccines, which is enormous promise.”

The General Services Administration has yet to issue an ascertainment that Biden is the president-elect. The lack of action has effectively delayed the presidential transition process. Additionally, the Trump administration has yet to reach out to Biden’s transition team on the matter. 

Two drug companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have announced successful tests on their proposed vaccines, both of which found success rates of about 95 percent.

But producing and distributing the vaccines is expected to be a laborious process, and it will likely be months before much of the public has access to a vaccine.

In the meantime, coronavirus cases have begun to skyrocket across the country as Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holiday season. 

Biden expressed frustration that Congress had not passed a new relief bill to help people get through the crisis, accusing Senate Republicans of refusing to take up a House-passed bill.

The president-elect said he was hopeful that Republicans would come around once President Trump is out of office, saying they might be afraid to cross him while he’s still in the White House.

“Congress has already passed that money. It’s sitting there and available right now,” Biden said.

“But some of our friends on the Senate side are unwilling to spend the money. … It’s not a responsible position. And I’m hoping why some of my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president, and hopefully when he’s gone they’ll be more willing to do what they know should be done, has to be done, to save the communities they live in.”

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