Health

Operation Warp Speed chief adviser submits resignation at request of Biden transition


Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, on Wednesday, submitted his resignation as part of a plan to hand the vaccination effort over to President-elect Biden’s coronavirus team.

Slaoui’s resignation, which will go into effect next month according to CNBC, comes as the president-elect has yet to name a new chief scientific adviser for the federal government’s vaccine deployment program, which has so far seen just over 9 million Americans receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Representatives for Biden’s transition team did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

The president-elect has named business executive and former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) appointee Jeffrey Zients to oversee his COVID-19 response, while Kaiser Permanente’s chief health officer Bechara Chouchair is Biden’s vaccine coordinator.

Slaoui previously indicated that he would resign from his posting once two vaccines for COVID-19 reached the market, a milestone that was reached last month. He told Politico last week that he had extended his plans to stay on until the Biden team no longer needed his assistance.

“I have decided to extend that in order to ensure that the operation continues to perform the way it has performed through the transition of administration,” Slaoui told the news outlet.

An official with Biden’s transition team also told Politico that Slaoui would stay on temporarily “to ensure continuity of the work that’s already been done and ensure a smooth process.”

Gen. Gustave Perna told the news outlet during the same conversation that Biden’s team has not asked him to step down from overseeing the nation’s vaccine distribution efforts.

“I’ve signed up, I’m here until my part of the mission is done or I’m told otherwise,” he said.

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