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President-elect Joe Biden after mass at St Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images / AFP

Joe Biden team to hold meetings with pharmaceutical companies on coronavirus fight

  • Ron Klain stressed the importance of establishing an effective distribution system for any vaccine
  • Klain was named chief of staff as Biden begins to build an administration – even as Donald Trump refuses to concede

President-elect Joe Biden’s team will begin meeting with Pfizer Inc and other pharmaceutical companies within days as they continue the transition to a new administration amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic, his chief of staff said on Sunday.

“We’re going to have meetings between our top scientific advisers and the officials of these drug companies, not just Pfizer but there are other promising vaccines as well. We’re going to start those consultations this week,” Ron Klain said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Bloomberg News reported last week that consultations between Biden’s advisers and the pharmaceutical industry began even before the election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden team held meetings with companies that had Covid-19 vaccines or therapies in late-stage clinical trials in September and October, the people said. The purpose was to gather information about the development, manufacturing and distribution of vaccinations to ward off coronavirus and therapies to treat the sick.

On Sunday, Klain also stressed the importance of establishing an effective distribution system for any vaccine, as well as the need for the General Services Administration to ascertain the election so Biden’s team can communicate with government officials.

“It’s great to have a vaccine, but vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives, and that means you’ve got to get that vax out into people’s arms all over this country. It’s a giant logistical project,” he said.

Klain was named chief of staff this week as Biden begins to build an administration even as President Donald Trump has refused to concede, citing unfounded claims of widespread fraud and election rigging.

Pfizer announced last week that its coronavirus vaccine appeared to be effective in fighting the virus, which is surging around the country. As of Sunday, more than 245,000 Americans have died of Covid-19.