Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, reportedly resigns as the top US vaccine advisor at the request of Biden's transition team
- Operation Warp Speed's chief advisor Monclef Slaoui has stepped down at the request of President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, CNBC reported, citing an unnamed official from the team.
- Operation Warp Speed is President Donald Trump's vaccine initiative, which has dedicated $6 million to coronavirus "countermeasures," including vaccine development.
- Slaoui will stay for 30 days from Biden's inauguration on January 20 to help with the transition, per CNBC.
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Monclef Slaoui, chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the White House's vaccination effort, has reportedly stepped down at the request of President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, CNBC reported on Tuesday.
Slaoui would stay for about a month to help with the transition, an unnamed Biden transition team official told CNBC.
Slaoui's contract ends on January 20, with a 30-day notice period, which has not been extended by the Biden team, CNBC and Reuters reported. It is not clear exactly when Slaoui's work will end, but CNBC said it would be by February 12.
It is not known whether Biden will directly replace Slaoui, or whether someone will take on a new role that essentially performs the same function, with a focus on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Politico reported on January 6 that Slaoui would soon depart and that General Gustave Perna, Operation Warp Speed's chief operating officer, would take over the logistics of vaccine distribution, citing an unnamed transition team official.
Slaoui joined Operation Warp Speed in May, having previously worked as a biopharma venture capitalist and on the board of biotechs like Moderna — one of the companies that has created a COVID-19 vaccine. Prior to this, he headed up drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine efforts.
Slaoui said in November that he would step down from the role at the end of 2020, or early 2021, but that his departure wouldn't have anything to do with the new administration.
"I have more affinity for the new administration than the current one," Slaoui told Politico in November. "This doesn't have to be black and white. I can continue to be available as needed."
Operation Warp Speed is coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. It has received $10 million in federal funding, with $6.5 million dedicated to developing coronavirus "countermeasures," like vaccines that protect against COVID-19 — the disease caused by coronavirus.
Operation Warp Speed has backed 14 promising vaccine candidates, including Moderna's, which has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
So far, 9.95 million doses have been given to Americans, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Operation Warp Speed set an overall target of 300 million vaccinations.
Slaoui was paid $1,000 for his work overseeing Operation Warp Speed, which he said he planned to donate to scientific research, per CNBC.
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