February 9, 2023

The movement, first reported by The Washington Postcomes more than two years after the CDC’s early stumbling blocks in Covid-19 testing and because there are still issues with tracking case and treatment data.

“Even at the beginning of the pandemic, there were issues around CDC coordination around the world [Health and Human Services] department,” said the firm’s former director, Robert Kadlec, explain why the reorganization is desirable. “They felt like they were in charge.”

Kadlec filled the role during the Trump administration, when early clashes — and dire warnings about the pandemic from then-CDC officials like Nancy Messonnier — sent the agency on a collision course with the White House.

A person familiar with the internal discussions told POLITICO that O’Connell approached HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra about the reorganization several months ago. The person insisted that it was not about shortcomings at the CDC, but about better staffing the ASPR.

But others criticized the reorganization as a misguided effort that would undermine the CDC and its efforts to strengthen its response network.

“This is unfortunate. It assumes ASPR has performed well during the pandemic, and it hasn’t,” Trump-era FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote on Twitter. “The right – but tougher approach – is CDC reform; what should be [the] tip of the spear in pandemic response.”

The change will strengthen O’Connell’s ability to staff key offices and expand the National Disaster Medical System, a network of HHS and Veterans Affairs Department, to deploy trained professionals during emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, Kadlec said. He argued that when the office was first established in 2006 — in response to Hurricane Katrina — federal officials discussed making it an independent operating division.

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The Trump administration has put together Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between HHS and the Pentagon to accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development, treatment and testing, in part because of restrictions on the Assistant Secretary for preparedness and response. to rapidly staff and catalyze funding decisions through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, Kadlec said.