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Biden taps former FDA head David Kessler to run Operation Warp Speed

David Kessler Operation Warp Speed
Posted at 7:49 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 07:50:34-05

President-elect Joe Biden is tapping a former FDA head to run the federal government's effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Associated Press.

Biden has tapped Dr. David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed when he takes office next week. Kessler will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who has agreed to remain a part of the Operation Warp Speed effort in an advisory role.

Kessler led the FDA from 1990 to 1997, when he helped lead the development and approval of many drugs to fight HIV and AIDs.

Kessler will take over the Operation Warp Speed efforts at a crucial time, with millions of vaccine doses in transit but COVID-19 cases and deaths spiking to all-time highs.

As of Friday morning, Bloomberg reports that the U.S. has distributed 12 million vaccines — a total that has tripled in the last 11 days but is still behind the FDA's state goal of 20 million vaccines by the end of 2020.

Biden has said he wants to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.