Former vaccine official resigns from HHS months after demotion, whistleblower complaint

Rick Bright, PhD, a vaccine expert with decades of experience working in the federal government, resigned from HHS Oct. 6, saying his workplace was too hostile for him to continue working.

Formerly the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of HHS, Dr. Bright was suddenly reassigned to a lower position at the National Institutes of Health in April. He alleges this was because he voiced concern about the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and nepotism within HHS, according to STAT.

Dr. Bright filed a formal whistleblower complaint against HHS in May. He filed an amended complaint Oct. 6, in which he said he had only been assigned one task during his time at the NIH.

"The federal government is paying Dr. Bright, one of the nation’s leading experts in pandemic preparedness and response, and an internationally recognized expert in vaccine and diagnostic development, to sit on his hands during a global pandemic that has, to date, killed one million people globally and over 210,000 people within the United States," the amended complaint, signed by Dr. Bright's attorney, reads. "HHS is denying Dr. Bright the opportunity to perform his life's work. And by sidelining him and harming his reputation, HHS is also making it harder for Dr. Bright to be able to return to his work in the future."

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