Biden taps former FDA commissioner Kessler to head vaccine efforts

President-elect Joe Biden is tapping former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler to serve as chief science officer of the COVID-19 response and help spearhead federal efforts to vaccinate millions of Americans, the transition team announced Friday.

Kessler co-chaired Biden’s coronavirus task force during the transition and worked as FDA commissioner from 1990-1997 under former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Kessler will replace Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is currently leading Operation Warp Speed, the vaccination program started under the Trump administration. Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Biden administration’s vaccine program will go by a different name.

Kessler will be a key player in Biden’s plans to accelerate vaccine distribution and meet his goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.