On May 7, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s top respiratory disease scientist who helped lead the agency’s response to the pandemic, announced her resignation effective May 14. Messonnier announced her departure just two weeks after new CDC director Rochelle Walensky restructured the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, which Messonnier had headed.
According to Politico, the restructuring meant Messonnier, who had been operating semi-autonomously, would now have to report to CDC’s incident response team overseen by Henry Walke, director of the agency’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections. (Dr. Walke, in turn, reports to Walensky.) Amid the change, Messonnier took an “unplanned vacation” from the agency before announcing her resignation.