President Joe Biden’s White House is battling on multiple fronts, and now it appears it has a new issue brewing within the ranks of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Daily Caller reported that according to an internal memo, two top FDA officials that deal with COVID-19 vaccine approval have submitted their resignations.
A former FDA official reportedly said the resignations are due, in part, to pressure from the White House on the booster vaccine approvals and the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appear to be too involved in the approval process.
What’s going on?
The two FDA officials who have decided to leave the agency include Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research & Review (OVRR), and Phil Krause, OVRR deputy director. Their resignations will take place later this year.
Gruber logged 32 years working for the FDA, and Krause has spent a decade there. Conditions must be intense for career-level government agency leaders to exit what is likely a lucrative federal position.
The internal memo announcing their departure was published by EndpointsNews, but it was a former FDA official who spilled the beans that the two were leaving out of what appears to be clear frustration with both the CDC and the Biden administration, specifically regarding the subject of COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Gruber and Krause reportedly believed the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have been too heavily involved with decisions on COVID-19 vaccines that should be left to the FDA,” the Daily Caller noted, citing the inside information from the former FDA official.
The outlet added that the two resigning officials expressed frustration with Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) director Peter Marks for not taking a stand to keep the approval process in-house and out of the hands of external agencies like the CDC.
Booster shots soon
The timing of the resignation announcements comes in the wake of the Biden administration announcing that as soon as Sept. 20, Americans could be in line for a third COVID-19 booster shot, the Daily Caller noted in a separate report earlier this month.
“We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said at the time.
Dr. Murthey added: “That is why today we are announcing our plan to stay ahead of this virus by being prepared to offer COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated adults eighteen years and older. They would be eligible for their booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna MRNA vaccines.”
The idea of a booster shot has already drawn pushback from medical experts, who, according to Reuters, have questioned why boosters would be necessary so soon, not to mention ethical questions surrounding the idea of a third booster when millions around the world still do not have the ability to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.