WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will face a daunting task when he takes office: vaccinating more than 300 million people against coronaviruses as quickly and safely as possible.
But according to several health officials advising the incoming presidential team, trying to get detailed information from the outgoing Trump administration has proved impossible, hampering the planning of the Biden team.
Information that Biden’s team wants includes:
- Total number of N95 masks, plastic gloves and syringes available to medical professionals nationwide.
- Information on the size of nursing staff available to deliver millions of doses of vaccine, including in rural areas.
- An understanding of where current supplies are stored, whether they meet the projected demands of all 50 states, how quality control checks will be carried out, and how state and hospital systems prevent bidding.
- Vaccine contract terms with pharmaceutical companies, including logistics, and the role of the Department of Defense.
- Existing database on testing, vaccination and protective gear.
The black hole information continues, filled with reluctance to accept President Donald Trump’s defeat, as the General Services Administration’s refusal to certify Biden as Presidential election and to allow transition activities to begin Decision.
Biden has argued that a delay in involving his team in the planning process may result in more people dying of coronovirus.
“There is no visibility into the supply chain,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, led by former President Barack Obama.
Biden’s team wants to know “where is the supply, how much has the federal government bought it, how can they allocate it and what model are they using,” Lurie, who came to the response of his Kovid-19 Are advising the administration, said. “If you’re really going to hit the ground, then you need all that stuff. People have been digging for it for months.”
He said that Biden’s team “does not have access to analyze everything that can go wrong and how we can mitigate those risks”.
The White House is arguing that there is publicly available information, and the plan continues to distribute the vaccine in the current administration.
Trump spokesman Jude Deere said in a statement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a distribution “playbook”. In partnership with CDC, McKesson Corp., which has a long-standing contract to distribute vaccines, is also offering kits that include needles, syringes, surgical masks and other accessories.
Nevertheless, public health officials say the Biden team will need to distribute and administer millions of doses of the vaccine.
“You need to know what everyone needs and for that you need a computer program and just understand the scenario of the need: swabs, vials, gowns, gloves, syringes, freezers, training. It’s a complex of things and Interlocking is set and they change; therefore, it has been published that this assumption is not correct, ”said former Obama Health and Human Services senior officer Leslie Dach.
“They are denying people’s ability to work,” said Dach.
Biden transition officials worry that they may face legal trouble if they try to initiate coordination before GSA approval, with many officials aware of their efforts. Government officials can enforce laws designed to protect sensitive information if they speak with Biden’s team before formal approval is given.
“We’re losing a lot of valuable time,” Dan Mendelson, who has served as associate director for health in the Office of Management and Budget at the Clinton White House.
‘A hostile takeover’
While Biden is waiting to join the team, planning continues in the Trump administration by non-political officials and experts, who have been a large-scale disease doctor, Dr. According to James Lawler, who served as a national security adviser, both Obama and former President George W. Bush have been “largely left alone” to do their job.
Medical Director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Drs. Marcus Plecia told NBC News that he was on two calls last week with state health officials and two CDC officials.
“We haven’t seen a problem so far,” Plasia said, but his main concern is that the states will need about $ 8.4 billion in federal funding to distribute the vaccine.
The quality of access to healthcare infrastructure and supplies varies by state, with many already struggling with budget shortfalls due to epidemics. The Pfizer vaccine has significant delivery barriers, mainly in that it requires storage at extremely low temperatures.
“Details about what exactly has been established in terms of transport logistics, what are the plans that the Governor has already presented? Let the Biden team communicate directly with the governors, they are going to be on-the-ground recipients, and there is a need to establish logistics, ”said Kathleen Sebelius, former Kansas governor, who spoke with Obama on health and human services Secretary .
Transition officials are finding other ways to collect information, ranging from former public health officials to close to career staff members within agencies, according to an emergency medical doctor who was contacted by the Biden team, but who did not wish to be named. The condition was talked about as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the plan.
Biden’s team is less concerned about the vaccine approval process, as modern companies and pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer are expected to apply for the Emergency Use Authority before the Thanksgiving holiday, meaning that permission before assuming office will be given.
Still, in a briefing with reporters last week, Sebelius warned that the Biden administration may need to keep Trump administration officials employed in health and human services to ensure that important information is not lost. .
Sableus said, “There are 11 operating agencies under that umbrella. He says sure enough that Biden is being considered by the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and the FDA to keep heads of agencies.”
“I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to behave” one that is described by the outgoing administration as essentially “a hostile takeover”, Sebelius said.