Biden Taps Former FDA Chief David Kessler to Lead Coronavirus Vaccination Efforts

Headline Roundup January 15th, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden has selected former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler to help lead his administration’s coronavirus vaccination efforts through a revamped and renamed Operation Warp Speed. Kessler served as FDA commissioner from 1990-1997, where he oversaw the approval of new antiviral HIV/AIDS drugs and fought to regulate the tobacco industry. Kessler also co-chaired Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board during the transition period. The appointment comes as Biden plans to overhaul Operation Warp Speed in his bid to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days.

Coverage in right-rated outlets was more likely to reference Operation Warp Speed in headlines and less likely to discuss Kessler’s record at the FDA. Coverage in left-rated outlets was more likely to describe alleged “failures” of Operation Warp Speed.

Biden Taps Former FDA Chief David Kessler to Lead Coronavirus Vaccination Efforts

From the Right
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President-elect Joe Biden is tapping a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner to help revamp President Trump's coronavirus-focused Operation Warp Speed.

Dr. David Kessler, who co-chaired Biden's shadow coronavirus taskforce during transition and has been advising the incoming president's inaugural committee on public health measures, was named chief scientific adviser for the Trump administration's public–private partnership formed to work on the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

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From the Center
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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen David Kessler, the ex-head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to help lead the COVID-19 vaccine push, his transition team said on Friday.

The news came as Biden was due to outline his plans to ramp up vaccinations amid soaring infections and an early rollout by the Trump administration that Biden has called “a dismal failure.”

Kessler, a pediatrician and lawyer who headed the FDA under presidents George Bush senior and Bill Clinton, will be Chief Science Officer of the administration’s COVID-19 Response.

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From the Left
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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has chosen Dr. David Kessler to help lead Operation Warp Speed, the program to accelerate development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, according to transition officials.

Dr. Kessler, a pediatrician and lawyer who headed the Food and Drug Administration during the presidencies of George Bush and Bill Clinton, has been a key adviser to Mr. Biden on Covid-19 policy and is co-chair of the transition team’s Covid-19 task force.

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