Moncef Slaoui, head of US vaccine effort, resigns at request of incoming Biden administration but will stay through transition

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Slaoui confirmed on CNBC Wednesday that he submitted his resignation letter on Tuesday to the Trump administration. He’ll stay on for 30 days to “ensure a smooth transition,” a Biden transition official tells CNN.

Slaoui said on a call with reporters last week that he had been in contact with the Biden administration and has been asked to become a consultant when the transition happens, to which he’s agreed, CNN previously reported.

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It’s common for a political appointee such as Slaoui to step down as part of the transition from one administration to another. It was not immediately clear if the Biden administration plans to appoint a successor.

During his appearance on CNBC, Slaoui touted the success of Operation Warp Speed in getting two vaccines authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration and said it was always his intention to return to private life once that was achieved. He said he decided to “prolong” his “tenure in order to support the new team as they come in.”

“As you know, I’m very supportive of this upcoming administration and really, of course, of the operation and its mission and I will be doing everything I can to help them succeed,” Slaoui said.

Slaoui said he would continue to support the leadership of Operation Warp Speed “in every possible way” and expressed “hope and confidence” in the Biden administration’s ability to take over the nation’s vaccination effort.

It’s not clear whether Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, will stay in his role.

Slaoui has been the most visible official leading the Trump administration’s vaccine effort and was a notable voice of cooperation at a time when President Donald Trump refused efforts to begin a transition following his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

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