President Donald Trump announced a decree Tuesday aimed at granting Americans priority access to vaccines. Trump’s executive order would “ensure that American citizens have first priority to receive American vaccines,” but it was unclear whether it would hold legal weight, since drugmakers have already signed deals with other countries.
Meanwhile, a more cautious presentation held simultaneously by President-elect Joe Biden warned that efforts to get the vaccine out to Americans would “slow and stall” if Congress does not urgently come up with funding. Biden stressed it was imperative for lawmakers to “finish the bipartisan work underway now or millions of Americans may wait months longer to get the vaccine.” Biden also pledged that his administration would carry out at least 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, a more conservative estimate than that offered by Trump officials.
Positive news related to vaccines emerged on Tuesday, including US regulators calling the Pfizer-BioNTech immunization — which Britain began rolling out on Tuesday — safe and effective in a briefing document. Pfizer will soon be granted emergency approval in the United States, with a meeting on the topic set for Thursday. A meeting on emergency approval for US firm Moderna’s vaccine candidate is scheduled for December 17.
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