Biden Congratulates Pfizer on Vaccine, But Stresses Role of Masks

Biden’s address came after Pfizer said that early data showed that its COVID-19 vaccine had a 90 percent efficacy.

2 min read
US President-elect Joe Biden.

US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday, 9 November, addressed the nation, reminding Americans that widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is still months away, and reiterating the importance of masks in containing the disease, declaring that “a mask is not a political statement”, AFP reported.

Biden’s address came soon after pharma giant Pfizer announced that early data from its Phase-3 trial had showed that its COVID-19 vaccine under development had a 90 percent efficacy.

“The expectation is the FDA will run a process of rigorous reviews and approvals. The process must also be grounded in science and fully transparent so the American people can have every confidence in any approved vaccine is safe and effective.”
Joe Biden

However, Biden stressed that it was clear that even if the vaccine were to be approved, it would not be widely available for many months to come.

“A mask remains the most potent weapon against the virus” until a vaccine becomes widely available, Biden said. “Today’s news does not change that urgent reality.”

“We are still facing a very dark winter,” Biden said, after a private briefing from the new advisory board.

The challenge before people right now is still immense and growing, Biden said, adding that while he was not in office yet, he was laying out what Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris expect to do once sworn in.

In a statement released earlier on Monday, Biden said he had received advance notice of Pfizer’s announcement and extended his congratulations. "I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope," Biden said.

“At the same time, it is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away,” the statement read.

Earlier on Monday, Biden announced the members of his 12-person COVID-19 “advisory board”. According to The New York Times, the three co-chairs of the panel are Dr. Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under former President Barack Obama, David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.

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