White House Covid-19 vaccination coordinator steps down in long-planned departure
Dr. Bechara Choucair, the Biden White House Covid-19 vaccinations coordinator, departed his post earlier this week as the administration’s efforts to vaccinate Americans continue.
Choucair’s departure was long planned as he returns to California, where he previously served as senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Permanente.
“Dr. Choucair is returning to the West Coast after staying longer than originally planned to help lead our country’s Covid-19 response. Bechara has been instrumental in our vaccination efforts, and we thank him for his tireless work to help state and local health officials across the country vaccinate their communities,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a statement to CNN.
As of Wednesday, about 452.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with approximately 196 million people fully vaccinated and 36.6 million Americans having received a booster dose.
Approximately 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated, with 69.5% receiving at least one dose, per the CDC’s data.
The departure comes as the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal government employees went into effect this week. White House health officials announced Monday that 95% of the federal workforce is in compliance with the mandate, with more than 90% of federal employees having received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, with the “vast majority” of that figure having received two shots, citing the statistics as proof that mandates boost vaccination rates.
In a LinkedIn post announcing his last day, Choucair outlined some of his team’s achievements.
“I am incredibly proud of the work our team has been able to achieve. More than 450 million shots have been administered, including 82% of all adults and 99% of seniors with at least one shot of the vaccine. Vaccine eligibility was expanded to adolescents and to kids 5-11. Boosters are now available for all adults. Vaccine requirements will be covering over 100 million people in this country. Most importantly, we did all of this with an unwavering focus on equity,” he said.
Choucair thanked President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for their support, and also thanked those who helped him with outreach suggestions.
“I want to thank everyone who shared personal stories, passed along tweets, memes, and Tik Tok videos, and who gave me ideas, suggestions, and strategies to improve vaccination rates,” he said.
Choucair continued, “I know we are all ready to put this pandemic behind us. We have the tools, the resources, the science and the will. We just have to finish the job. We will.”
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