WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Two senior leaders in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine review office are stepping down, but their departures won't slow efforts to combat the pandemic, the agency said Tuesday.
"We are confident in the expertise and ability of our staff to continue our critical public health work, including evaluating COVID-19 vaccines," FDA spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo told CNN.
The retirements of Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), and Dr. Philip Krause, deputy director of the office, come as the agency mulls decisions about COVID-19 vaccine approvals, authorizations for younger children and booster shots.
Gruber will retire on Oct. 31 and Krause will step down in November, according to an internal FDA email sent by CBER Director Dr. Peter Marks, CNN reported.
The search for the next director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review will begin soon and Marks will serve as the acting director, the email explained.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock acknowledged to staff that the agency is operating in difficult times.
"Following today's announcement that Marion and Phil have decided to retire, I wanted to reach out to reiterate my full support and complete confidence in your ability to continue delivering on the agency's mandate to deliver safe, effective and high-quality vaccines to the American people," Woodcock said in an email to staff that was sent to CNN.
"The issues are complex and the days are long, but please know the work you all have done to date and will continue to do in the days, weeks and months ahead, will hopefully one day allow us to fully put COVID-19 behind us and better prepare us for future challenges," Woodcock added.
Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more on COVID vaccines.