Infectious Disease

Biden’s COVID-19 staff will comply with science to enhance vaccination efforts, the advisor says

January 14, 2021

5 min read

Source / information

Pavia reports that he has advised GlaxoSmithKline on home influenza testing and Pfizer on early potential antiviral drugs that are not related to COVID-19. Vaishampayan does not report any relevant financial information. Healio was unable to confirm any relevant financial information for Gounder or Pace at the time of publication.


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Before a scheduled address in which the President-elect Alreadyseph R. Biden Jr. The new government’s plans for distributing COVID-19 vaccines were expected to be detailed. An advisor to the transition team promised that this would be science-led.

“The Biden brand should follow science” Celine Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA, The clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine and a member of Biden-Harris’s COVID-19 advisory board said during a webcast at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Thursday. “From vaccines to therapeutics to diagnostics … everything is informed by science.”

Covid vaccination

Ahead of a scheduled address in which President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was to detail the new administration’s plans for distributing COVID-19 vaccines, an advisor to the transition team promised that it would be science-based.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Slow vaccine rollout

More than 23 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. and more than 386,000 Americans have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins.
Gounder said the country previewed Biden’s vaccination schedule last week when the president-elect said he would release almost all available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to expedite adoption. He has vowed to vaccinate 100 million people during his first 100 days in office. (According to the CDC, 11.1 million people had been vaccinated by Thursday morning.)

“I think we now understand the gravity of the situation. We deal with 4,000 Americans dying from coronavirus every day, and it’s unacceptable for Americans to die at this rate, ”Gounder said. “The president-elect is working very hard to speed up vaccination because if we don’t, our overall death toll will more than double if we let death stop this quickly.”

Andrew T. Pavia

The Trump administration announced a similar plan earlier this week to release all reserve vaccine doses to ensure that anyone who has already received a first dose of vaccine can get a second dose. She also urged states to open up vaccination to people who did not belong to the original groups in order to prioritize what could require the availability of an additional ten million doses of vaccine.

Gounder said the transition team recognizes that “while well-intentioned” some of the new guidelines are difficult to operationalize in the field, and other experts agree.

Andrew T. Pavia, MD, FIDSA, The head of the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah Health said the initial rollout did not go smoothly, partly due to a lack of planning and resources.

“The first step in this process – developing highly effective vaccines – went really well. This is an important milestone in the fight against this pandemic, ”Pavia said Thursday during a press conference for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “But this phase that we have now entered may be even more difficult than developing the vaccines. We must get around 600 million doses into the arms of Americans to control this pandemic, and we have known for many months that it will be a huge undertaking. “

Julie Vaishampayan, MD, MPH, FIDSA, The chairman of the IDSA public health committee and a public health officer at Stanislaus County, California said there was enough space for the introduction to meet vaccine storage requirements and convince those at risk to enter Getting vaccination clinics to come and having the distribution of vaccines expanded to other groups can be challenging.

“Most of our work and planning is to send messages and reach these priority populations – the most at risk and the most at risk [who] I have to get the vaccine first, ”said Vaishampayan. “It’s easier with healthcare workers, but it gets harder when we expand in groups, and it takes a lot of planning. One of our concerns is short-term switching [to other groups] does not allow this planning process. “

The Trump administration’s revised guidelines suggest that states open up vaccination to all those most at risk, including those 65 and over and those under 65 with documentation of comorbidity. People aged 75 and over already belonged to a prioritized group.

Vaishampayan said one obstacle to vaccinating older patients is the lack of access to online portals and systems required to register for vaccination. She also said that there is a lack of time and resources to properly address this issue and that a “significant portion” of the eligible people are missing because of it.

According to Gounder, smoothing the supply chain and simplifying those eligible for vaccination will be the key to further development.

“We are concerned about the discrepancy between the number of people told they are eligible and the amount of vaccine distributed and the resources to get that vaccine into people,” said Pavia. “In order to actually be able to vaccinate, we need an efficient, well-planned system. We need coordination, and we can only have that if there is absolute transparency. “

Reconstruction of the infrastructure

In addition to its focus on improving vaccination rates and resources, the new government plans to keep an eye on several other factors related to the pandemic.

“We’re also very focused on how we’re rebuilding public health infrastructure, all realizing how heavily our clinics and communities have been taxed due to COVID-19.” said Loyce Pace, MPH, President and Executive Director of the Global Health Council and member of Biden-Harris’s COVID-19 Advisory Board. “We’re also very focused on the supply chain and access to and uptake of key innovations like vaccines … and supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostics, testing and treatment, and their equitable distribution across the country’s communities.”

Another important issue for future administration is “How do we safely reopen and reopen and make sure the American economy, schools and businesses can get back up and running without an increased risk of COVID-19,” Pace said during the Johns Hopkins webcast.

However, Gounder and Pace realized that as more science becomes available, things can change. “Certain recommendations can change over time,” said Gounder. One such example would be the use of face masks. As of now, the administration recommends the continued use of face masks after vaccination.

“At the moment, we don’t know if the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent transmission,” Gounder said. “This type of instruction is also dictated by science.”

Additionally, the Biden government intends to improve surveillance and containment, particularly in the context of the newly emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have been reported in several countries, including the United States

“We recognize that the US is not doing enough to pursue these variants,” said Pace. “The good news is that, to the best of our knowledge, the vaccine can be defensive against these variants.”

Another good news, Pace said, is that “the public health principles that we know and love still work and still matter”.

“We still want people to mask themselves. We still want people to restrict gathering with people outside their household. We still want people to wash their hands, ”she said.

Pavia said he was concerned about a lack of COVID-19 public precautions during the vaccine rollout, despite a sharp surge in cases.

“We know the measures that work – masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and hand hygiene. But we don’t use them, ”he said. “It’s like learning that really good shark repellants will be available in the summer, so people jump into the ocean covered in blood while the great whites swim around.”


Johns Hopkins. Coronavirus Resource Center. Accessed January 14, 2020.

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