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What Biden’s COVID task force can do before inauguration

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Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attends a coronavirus briefing at The Queen theater on October 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

"The transition team can do a lot to amplify and reinforce the messages of scientists and public health experts," says Dr. Kelly Moore of the Immunization Action Coalition. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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This morning, President-Elect Joe Biden announced three co-chairs of his new COVID-19 task force: Dr. Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under President Barack Obama; Dr. David Kessler, head of the Food and Drug Administration under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith from the Yale School of Medicine.

All members of the task force will be doctors and health experts. But what kind of effect might this task force have during this transition time?

Dr. Kelly Moore is associate director for the Immunization Action Coalition, a group of physicians and health experts that educates the public about vaccines. She spoke with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio, and the following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Dr. Kelly Moore: The transition team can do a lot to amplify and reinforce the messages of scientists and public health experts. That’s one of the most important roles they can play, is to let people know that public health experts have good advice on things they can do to protect themselves and their families now, and to use the power of their example, to be good role models about practicing what public health is advising: wearing masks, keeping their distance, not getting in crowds and making tough choices about family gatherings over the holidays.

Distribution for an eventual vaccine

David Brancaccio: Now, another part of this is that the world hopes we will get a vaccine or vaccines in the new year at some point. But distributing those vaccines is an enormous undertaking, and the Biden team won’t have a direct say in that until again inauguration.

Moore: The Biden team’s role right now, which is critical, is to start talking to state leaders and other experts about exactly what they need to equip them to roll out the vaccines effectively. It’s very possible they could already be starting to roll out a vaccine before Inauguration Day, but they will still need more resources to do that well throughout next year. And the Biden team can be prepared to get them what they need the moment they take office.

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