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Trump signs executive order giving Americans vaccine priority

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Trump signs executive order giving Americans vaccine priority
President Donald Trump signs an executive order giving priority to Americans to receive U.S.-made coronavirus vaccines Tuesday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at prioritizing Americans for U.S.-made vaccines.

During a signing ceremony at the White House, Trump said that if necessary, he would invoke the Defense Production Act to make sure Americans would get the vaccines first.

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The DPA, signed into law in 1950, forces companies to increase production and give the U.S. government the first opportunity to make purchases. Trump invoked the law in April to force meat processing plants to stay open amid the pandemic.

The order comes after Pfizer told the Trump administration it wouldn't be able to ship additional vaccines to the United States until June. The U.S. government purchased 100 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer pending its approval for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

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The New York Times reported Monday that the U.S. government passed on the opportunity to purchase more doses from Pfizer, according to people familiar with the discussion. The biotech company later went on to sell hundreds of millions of doses to other companies.

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden's transition team plans to meet with officials from Operation Warp Speed, an official from the COVID-19 vaccine initiative said Tuesday.

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Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser of Operation Warp Speed, told ABC's Good Morning America the meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

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"We look forward to, you know, sharing all the information and working together," he said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos.

"Our object has always been outside of politics and making sure we make available these vaccines for the U.S. people, and that's what we're doing."

Biden and his team began formally receiving briefings from White House officials late last month. The General Service Administration delayed releasing funds and working with Biden in his transition process as Trump disputed the results of the election.

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Biden's advisory task force complained it had been denied important information to help them prepare to defeat COVID-19.

Biden met with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, last week and asked him to his chief medical adviser. Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and has been vocal about the efforts needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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Biden said that after his inauguration, he plans to ask Americans to wear masks in public for 100 days.

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Thursday's meeting comes as the Food and Drug Administration prepares to review and possibly issue an emergency use authorization for coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer began its first rollout of the vaccine to non-trial subjects in Britain on Tuesday morning. The first recipient was a 90-year-old woman at the University Hospital in Coventry.

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