WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will hold dueling health care-related events Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify nationwide.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will formally introduce their nominees and appointees for their health team in the afternoon in Wilmington, Del. The picks include California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a leading expert on virus testing, prevention and treatment to serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.
Meanwhile, the White House will hold a summit in the afternoon on the Covid-19 vaccine, which the incoming administration will largely be responsible for distributing to the public.
No Biden official was invited to participate in the vaccine summit, a transition official told NBC News.
In other transition news:
- Biden and Harris will participate in a virtual meeting later in the day with civil rights leaders in Wilmington, Delaware, which will be closed to the press. The NAACP and other civil rights groups have been advocating for greater access and representation.
- The president-elect is expected to announce this week that he’s chosen to nominate retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as his defense secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first African American to lead the Defense Department.Biden is expected to announce additional members of his Cabinet before Christmas.
- States that haven’t yet certified their votes for president or that face legal challenges are rushing to resolve any remaining disputes by Tuesday, known as safe harbor day, another step toward locking in Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
- A senior Trump administration official said on a call with reporters Monday that the purpose of the vaccine summit Tuesday to is educate Americans about the vaccine development process, to instill confidence in the public so that they know the vaccine is safe and to “congratulate the members of Operation Warp Speed, the members of the administration, the members of the scientific community, the members of the public sector, the U.S. military all coming together in, really, the most spectacular mobilization since World War Two to get a vaccine to market much, much faster than has ever been done before.”
When speaking about the costs associated with the distribution of the vaccines, the official said, “No American will have to pay a penny out of his or her pocket to get vaccinated. There will be absolutely no copays, deductibles or coinsurance associated with this.”
“We feel absolutely confident we will get the vaccine doses for which we’ve contracted, and we’ll have sufficient number of doses to vaccinate all Americans who desire one before the end of the second quarter of 2021,” the official said.
Monica Alba and Mike Memoli contributed.