COVID-19 vaccine distribution won’t be slowed by presidential transition delay: HHS official

Top health official Adm. Brett Giroir said the distribution of coronavirus vaccines will not be slowed by the delay in the presidential transition process – calling it an “incredibly well-oiled plan,” according to a report.

Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, told CNN on Wednesday that the US will have at least 50 million doses distributed by the end of the year.

“I do want to reassure the American people, though, that there’s going to be no delay in vaccine distribution,” he said, adding that he does not make the rules but wants to be transparent. “This is an incredibly well-oiled plan.”

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that his staff will not work with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team until Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, affirms the projected result of the election.

“The deputy surgeon general, Dr. Erica Schwartz, is the transition official for HHS,” Giroir told CNN.

“The rule is if someone from the Biden transition team contacts one of those on the presidential transition team, the official person for each agency, they are supposed to notify Dr. Schwartz — Admiral Schwartz — and she is supposed to tell the GSA,” he added.

Meanwhile, Giroir also cast a pall on the good news about vaccines on the horizon by saying the pandemic “will get worse” for now.

“We have had 1 million cases documented over the past week, our rate of rise is higher than it even was in the summer, we have hospitalizations going up 25 percent week over week,” he said.

“There are so many more cases that we have, that deaths are going up,” he added. “As you’ve heard so many times before, we know how to fix this. It’s all about absolute adherence to wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and yes, we can keep the economy open but we’re going to have to diminish indoor places like indoor dining and restaurants.”

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