The transition team of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Monday announced cost-free Covid-19 testing and an investment of $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee it gets to every American.
The Biden-Harris transition team also announced its Covid-19 Advisory Board that has 13 members, including two Indian Americans.
Former Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy will co-chair the newly formed team and will work on a ‘seven-point plan to beat Covid-19”. The other Indian American in the team is Dr Atul Gawande, noted physician, author, and the founder Ariadne Labs.
The seven-point plan includes ensuring all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing, doubling the number of drive-through testing sites, investing in next-generation testing, including at-home tests and instant tests, setting up a testing board like Roosevelt’s War Production Board, and establishing a US Public Health Jobs Corps to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country with support from trusted local organizations in communities most at risk to perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing and protecting at-risk populations.
“Biden-Harris’s seven-point Covid-19 plan is a good public health initiative,” Prasun Mishra, founding president and CEO of the American Association for Precision Medicine (AAPM), told indica News.
Mishra, who is also chair of AAPM coronavirus task force, said he was impressed with the plan to assess the safety of vaccines and a plan for proper distribution, even making vaccines free, which will require $25 billion in investments.
Pfizer’s announcement Monday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate had achieved 90 percent effectiveness was greeted with much cheer.
President-elect Biden in his speech from Wilmington, Delaware, called the news “positive” but stressed that the vaccine, even if it’s approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, “will not be widely available for many months yet to come.”
Mishra called Pfizer’s announcement “very encouraging” but also pointed out that there were several vaccine candidates being tested in clinical trials.
“In the short term, we will not have enough doses available, hence, we should prioritize on who should get the vaccine,” Mishra said.
“In the long run as vaccines become widely available everyone should be encouraged to vaccinate. However, there should be opt-out provisions built-in,” he added.
Mishra also welcomed the mandating of face masks.
“If all wear masks, we can avert the spread of the disease and save thousands of lives in the coming months. The mask mandate would be enforced by governors in their respective states by some sort of enforceable measures,” Mishra said.