Biden hails Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine announcement, warns against complacency

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has hailed Monday’s announcement of an effective COVID-19 vaccine by U.S. pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Inc., and its German partner, BioNTech.

The vaccine, according to the firms, has a 90-per-cent success rate having been tested on 43,500 people in six countries with no safety concerns.

In a statement on Monday, Biden described the announcement as excellent news and congratulated the manufacturers for giving the world “cause for hope”.

However, Biden warned against complacency, noting that the end of the battle against the pandemic was still months away.

He said even if a vaccine was approved by the end of November as forecasted by industry players, widespread vaccination would take many more months.

The president-elect emphasised the need for people to remain precautious, especially with the use of masks, which he said remained a “more potent weapon against the virus than the vaccine”.

“Today’s news does not change this urgent reality.

“Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing and other measures to keep themselves well safe into New Year,” he said.

Earlier, Biden and the Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, named their transition COVID-19 advisory board as promised by the president -elect in his victory speech on Saturday.

The 12-member board of leading scientists and experts is charged with producing a policy from the duo’s corona virus plan.

“Dealing with the corona virus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts.

“The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations,” Biden said.

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