'More people may die': Biden asks Trump to make co-ordinated plans for COVID-19 vaccine

Washington [US]: US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday (local time) asked President Donald Trump-led administration to make co-ordinated plans for nationwide coronavirus vaccination or more people will die due to the infection.

Speaking at a press conference, Biden said, "More people may die if we don't coordinate...A vaccine is important. It's of little use until you are vaccinated. So how do we get the vaccine, how do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What is the game plan? It is a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done." He further said that the planning needs to be done right now on how to execute the process of vaccinating the Americans.

"If we have to wait until January 20 [the date of Biden to take oath for President] to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month and a half. And so, it's important that it be done, that there be coordination now. Now or as rapidly as we can get that done," he added.

Earlier, speaking at Wilmington, Delaware, after conducting a call with CEOs of various US businesses, Biden urged Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package as soon as possible.

"Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago," he said. "Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before," he added.

This comes following the pharma giant Moderna's announcement that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective, based on early results from its large ongoing study. "The NIH-appointed Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against COVID-19, has informed Moderna that the trial has met the statistical criteria pre-specified in the study protocol for efficacy, with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5 per cent," Moderna said in a statement.

Last week, US giant Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech had stated that their vaccine was found to be more than 90 per cent effective. According to the latest update by the Johns Hopkins University, the US has till now reported 11,172,779 COVID-19 cases and 247,019 deaths.

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