Biden team says hampering transition puts vaccine rollout at risk

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team warned Tuesday that the Trump Administration's refusal to conduct briefings and share data on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine distribution could jeopardize American lives and the vaccine effort.

"We need to be allowed to immediately begin work with our colleagues in the current administration to plan to execute a national vaccination effort and end this pandemic," said David Kessler, a former Food & Drug Administration Commissioner and member of the Biden transition COVID Advisory Board.

"More people may die if we don't coordinate," said President-elect Biden, just a day earlier.

The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association sent a letter to President Trump Tuesday, sounding an alarm in their letter saying, "we urge you to share critical data and information as soon as possible."

Copy of AHA, AMA, ANA letter

"This is really going to cost people's lives if we don't get this right," said Dr. Robert Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Dept. of Medicine.

Dr. Wachter says the nationwide spike in coronavirus cases needs a nationwide response with a smooth transition.

"In a normal world, you would be having this administration sort of sit down with their colleagues in the Biden administration and talk through each of these and sharing the data," said Dr. Wachter, "It's scary and it's really concerning that that's not happening."

Dr. Wachter says what's alarming is that the timing of the inauguration transition is in mid-January, right when a smooth rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will be critical.

The Trump administration says it's preparing a roll out of both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines which have shown signs in Phase 3 clinical trials of being more than 90% effective.

"The Pfizer one is going to be really good for big institutional vaccinations, say a whole hospital setting, several nursing homes at once," said Alex Azar, Health And Human Services Secretary.

Dr. Wachter says the logistics will be complicated, however and will need extremely well-planned coordination, as the Pfizer vaccine in particular needs extremely cold storage conditions and both vaccines require two doses.

"Making sure they're kept cold, making sure we have a system to track all of them. If you get your first dose with the Pfizer vaccine, you can't get your second dose with the Moderna vaccine. We have to be sure you get the right does both times.We have to be able to track the outcome," said Dr. Wachter.

Another big concern for community clinics is funding.

Dr. Michael Stacey is the Chief Medical Officer at Lifelong Medical Care, which operates clinics that serve many low-income patients in the Bay Area.

"Our current funding for dealing with COVID is running out on December 30th," said Dr. Stacey.

Dr. Stacey says the federal funding is critical for covid testing in the community and without funds the testing programs might disappear just as the need is greatest with increasing spread in the Bay Area.

"We need to have the resources or what is already a horrible in terms of the pandemic could become worse," said Dr. Stacey.

President-elect BIden is scheduled to meet with health care providers on Wednesday to listen to their needs and concerns.

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or