Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board: Mass release of vaccine will not compromise follow-up doses

The goal to get as many COVID-19 shots into arms as quickly as possible is driving President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to release nearly all available doses of the vaccine.

His advisers don’t want skeptics to worry about future supplies.

“We’re not really going to have issues with supply to meet second doses,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board.

On a Johns Hopkins University webcast Thursday, Gounder said she’s confident about supplies after multiple conversations in recent months with major stakeholders, including drug companies.

“If you look at the timeline for production, they’re actually going to be releasing more and more doses over time, so that really does open things up significantly,” she said. “Barring some major manufacturing snafu, we’re really not worried about second doses being delivered on time, or nearly on time.”

Even if second doses are delayed, Gounder said vaccines are not like antibiotics. Viruses don’t develop resistance in that way.

Of more concern is whether emerging variants of the virus can escape the immune response generated by vaccines. She said that’s being studied, but so far vaccines do seem to work against the UK variant strain of the virus.

Asked about the feasibility of Biden’s pledge to get 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine out in his first 100 days, Gounder said it must happen.

“We are dealing with about 4,000 Americans dying from coronavirus every day. That is more than died on 9/11 — every day,” Gounder said. “If we allow the same death toll to continue over the next 100 days, our overall death toll will more than double and that’s simply not acceptable.”

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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