This news seemed to come out of nowhere. After seeing him on nearly every cable news show on a daily basis for months on end, it was announced last night that Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institute of Health, is stepping down. Collins took the role under Barack Obama and retained the position over the course of three presidencies. He’s been highly “outspoken” (to put it mildly) about what sort of executive mandates regarding face masks and vaccinations were required to combat the pandemic. So was this some sort of signal that the battle against the novel coronavirus is essentially over or just a normal career move? (Mediaite)
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, is reportedly stepping down.
Politico broke the surprise news Monday night, reporting that he will be announcing his resignation on Tuesday after almost 30 years.
Collins has been NIH director since 2009, and he has been very outspoken in the past few months about the need to get vaccinated and the disinformation spreading throughout the pandemic.
The timing of this might seem curious at first glance, but there may not be all that much to it. Politico is reporting that Collins’ departure has been “in the works for some time.” And to be fair, the guy is 71 years old and he’s been in the game for quite a while. If he just wants to go spend more time with his family after that long of a career, that’s his business.
For quite a while, it appeared that Collins was one of the bigger voices whispering in Joe Biden’s ear about pandemic suppression policies. Despite conflicting results from studies in multiple countries, Collins was always a vocal advocate for face masks and believed their use should be mandatory. He was also a major cheerleader for the vaccines, obviously, and appeared to support making those mandatory as well. This was precisely the tune that Joe Biden wanted to hear and Collins was regularly dispatched to appear on various cable news programs to preach those doctrines. He also recently expressed “astonishment” that there could be such a political divide over these issues.
The one thing in recent memory that left me wondering whether or not there was a political angle to this resignation was the food fight we witnessed over the question of booster shots. Joe Biden announced that they would be starting for most people on September 20th, long before the pharmaceutical companies had finished collecting their data or the CDC and FDA had time to analyze it. When they finally determined that it was too soon for boosters except among certain highly vulnerable populations, Collins followed the science and went against Biden, calling it “the right decision” at that time.
But that doesn’t seem like enough of a scuffle for Biden to want to nudge him toward the door, does it? I mean, that would be quite a petty response. And the underlying message that Collins constantly put forth was in keeping with Biden’s overall tendency to mandate face masks and vaccinations as much as possible. The difference between the two was only one of timing and collecting test results.
As a side note, Collins has also been very vocal about his conversion from atheism to Christianity and he wrote a book about the importance of faith several years ago. He’s a believer that God created the world, but He also did it through evolution. Sounds like an interesting guy to have over for cocktails and chat. Best of luck with whatever comes next, Doc.