Joe Biden at a campaign event on July 28. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday celebrated the announcement of a successful coronavirus vaccine — but cautioned that the US still had far to go before achieving widespread vaccination.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Monday said its vaccine had been effective against the coronavirus in late-stage trials. Pfizer’s announcement represents a milestone achievement during the pandemic.
“I congratulate the men and women who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope,” Biden said in a statement.
“At the same time, it is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away.
“This news follows a previously announced timeline by industry officials that forecast vaccine approval by late November. Even if that is achieved, and some Americans are vaccinated later this year, it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”
Biden’s cautionary remarks fall in line with what health officials have been saying for months. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, warned last month that the general public might not be able to receive a vaccine until mid-2021.
President Donald Trump also celebrated the breakthrough but without any caveats.
“STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” Trump tweeted early Monday.
Biden has promised a series of proposals to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, including making tests more widely available, expanding mask requirements, and distributing more personal protective equipment to institutions and hospitals.
Biden was expected to announce a new coronavirus task force later Monday. News of the task force, which emerged over the weekend, further indicates Biden expects the coronavirus to continue to be a strong area of focus even months from now.
Biden’s task force is said to have three people at its helm: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and the Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
The coronavirus has infected more than 9.9 million people nationwide, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 237,000 people have died.
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