Biden Overhauls Operation Warp Speed And Names New Chief Scientific Adviser

President-elect Joe Biden is tapping a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner to help revamp President Trump’s coronavirus-focused Operation Warp Speed.

Dr. David Kessler, who co-chaired Biden’s shadow coronavirus taskforce during transition and has been advising the incoming president’s inaugural committee on public health measures, was named chief scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s public–private partnership formed to work on the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Kessler’s appointment coincides with Biden unveiling his vaccine rollout plan Friday. Kessler was an FDA commissioner during both former President Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush’s administrations. Biden also announced Friday former President Barack Obama’s acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt would be a senior adviser to the operation.

On Thursday, Biden released his “American Rescue Plan.” In the $1.9 trillion proposal, Biden asks Congress for $20 billion to fund a national vaccination program and $50 billion to expand testing, as well as billions of dollars to assist businesses, workers, and schools mitigate virus-related risks.

Kessler replaces Trump administration chief scientific adviser Moncef Slaoui, who will stay on as a consultant, the New York Times reported. Slaoui said in December that his administration had fallen well short of its 20 million person end-of-2020 vaccination target. As of Thursday, only 11 million inoculations had been given, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kessler joins a long list of experts on Biden’s team. Xavier Becerra is Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, Anthony Fauci agreed to be his chief COVID-19 medical adviser, and Jeff Zients will be his virus czar in his capacity as a counselor to the president.

Author: Naomi Lim

Source: Washington Examiner: Biden overhauls Operation Warp Speed and names new chief scientific adviser

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