- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Rick Bright, a member of presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, said Wednesday that the delayed presidential transition process “very likely” could hamper the effective roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine.

“It is absolutely critical that the transition team is able to sit down with the current administration today to be able to discuss the protocols of the trials, the technical aspects of the vaccine and the roll-out and the distribution campaigns,” Mr. Bright said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

He said they have “no insight” on the plans from the current administration.
“We do not even have direct access to the data,” he said.

The General Services Administration has not yet recognized Mr. Biden as the apparent winner of the election, which would unlock additional resources for the transition and enable Mr. Biden’s team to coordinate directly with the Trump administration.

Multiple media outlets projected Mr. Biden as the winner on Nov. 7, but Mr. Trump hasn’t conceded and is challenging the results in a handful of close states.

Mr. Bright said the GSA delay is causing “significant delays with this critical time point with the data and the vaccine availability.”

“It very likely can” delay proper vaccine distribution, he said.

“It is not something that is trivial,” he said. “We need to sit down immediately.”
Mr. Bright praised as “very encouraging news” the latest developments in the race for a vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Wednesday that their vaccine candidate was 95% effective in a final analysis in their Phase 3 study. The companies plan to apply for emergency use authorization from the federal government within “days.”

Mr. Bright said there still needs to be a distribution plan and a proper hand-off.
“A vaccine doesn’t save your life, but vaccination does,” he said. “Vaccines don’t deliver themselves.”

Mr. Bright headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) from 2016 to 2020.

He had feuded with Mr. Trump toward the tail end of his tenure and filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that the administration wasn’t serious enough about the public health crisis in the early days.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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